The skunk ape is a type of cryptid that is often considered a type of bigfoot, but is actually a pongid, or great ape. They are often reported to be similar to an orangutan or a gorilla. They are also known as Napes.
The term "skunk-ape" was coined by David Shealy who heads the Skunk-Ape Research Headquarters in Ochopee, Florida.
The skunk ape supposedly hides in muddy, abandoned alligator caves, thus the smell.
Many photos taken of the skunk ape look suspiciously like orangutans that inhabit primate enclosures of the more lavish zoos of Miami and Orlando, conveniently for their photographers. For instance, if one were to take a picture of an orangutan in its habitat enclosure and simply make sure that one did not capture structures such as bars or windows in the photo, one would have an excellent picture of a Skunk Ape that would be difficult to refute.
For more than two centuries, people have sworn they saw the skunk ape dash across the Everglades or retreat from a rural road. More than 75 sightings were reported in Florida in the past two decades.
The most famous such photographs were taken anonymously and mailed to the Sarasota Sheriff's Department in Florida in the year 2000. These photos are known as the Myakka Skunk-Ape photos. Some claim that the photo is fake, others that it is a man in a suit made of yak hair with a mask, and still others claim that it is an orangutan. Few people believe that it is a photo of a Skunk Ape. In 1998, Ochopee, Florida Fire Chief Vince Doerr photographed an alleged skunk ape.
There is the unsettling possibility that there might actually be small populations of (or a few lone) wild orangutans in remote areas of Florida that are descended from orangutans who escaped from international airports or from captivity as exotic pets. Note that orangutans in captivity test higher on cognitive skills tests than all other hominids save humans; the high intelligence and natural intuitive powers of an orangutan would not preclude an ability to evade capture or detection in a remote or inaccessible region of swamp land.