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Fisherman Photographs ‘Bigfoot’ in Florida

TAMPA, Fla.– A man on Thursday provided a series of photographs containing what he calls an ‘ape’ swimming in a swamp of southern Florida.

John Rodriguez, who sent the picture to Cryptozoology News on New Year’s Eve, said that he was “gar fishing” on a canoe in the Hillsborough River the day after Christmas when he noticed the alleged creature.

“It was around noon. This animal was walking through the swamp and crouched down into the water and that’s when I snapped the photo. It was an ape that walked like a man,” Rodriguez, a 66-year-old retired electrician, told Cryptozoology News.

He states that the animal was “well camouflaged neck deep in gator and moccasin-filled waters”.

“We were both startled. That’s when it crouched in the water. I snapped a couple shots and got out of there. I always have my camera and usually capture beautiful birds.  I was in pretty dense cypress swamp, so no one was coming to help me if I needed it. I go to that area often however I don’t usually get into the thicker brush. I got a line caught in some branches that day and forced me to.”

The photographs depict the brown, hairy head and torso of a rather stoic looking ape-like “creature”. The head features a white stripe of hair covering its forehead and chin.

The 'Bigfoot' creature exhibits a white highlight across its forehead. Credit: John Rodriguez
The ‘Bigfoot’ creature exhibits a white hair highlight across its forehead and chin, Credit: John Rodriguez

“I took the picture and you’re welcome to use it,” he said. I’ve heard about apes around here since I was a kid, but had only seen footprints,” the electrician added.

Also known as the Swamp Ape, the Florida Bigfoot or the Myakka Ape, the Skunk Ape is a primate cryptid allegedly living in the Sunshine State.

In 2000, two clear photographs of the purported creature were mailed to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Department. A message was included in the mailed envelope to explain that the eyewitness had taken the picture in her own backyard and near the Myakka River. She claimed that the animal was attracted to the apples on her trees.

Bigfoot investigator AJ Marston believes there’s a relationship between apples and Bigfoot.

Other witnesses, like Florida resident John Bird, claims to feed Skunk Apes potatoes and plantains on a regular basis.

Australian researchers have also made similar claims about Yowie, a monkey-like animal supposedly related to North America’s Bigfoot . They attempted to document the alleged creature’s feeding habits with a controversial video released last April.

Also in 2000, Dave Shealy captured on video an unknown bipedal creature he claimed to be a Skunk Ape.

In 2013, a man and his son said they were driving across the Myakka River State Park when they spotted a strange animal running across a field and were able to capture it on video.

In November 2014, a woman told BFRO investigator Jim Sherman that she had encountered a “Bigfoot” while driving on Florida State Road 72. The beast, she said, was as wide as her “momma’s dodge”.

Image analysis experts are currently studying the newly released picture, although many have already dismissed the photograph as a hoax. Unnamed sources tell Cryptozoology News that the photograph is “clearly a fake”.

But Rodriguez is adamant that what he saw was real.

"Bigfoot" is startled in the second photograph. Credit: John Rodriguez
“Bigfoot” is startled in the second photograph. Credit: John Rodriguez

“I’ve been accused of Photoshopping this, or it being a costume. Both accusations are really frustrating,” he confessed.

As to why he didn’t take a video instead, the man explained that he is not sure whether the camera has that capability.

“I think it can, but I have never used that function for anything. It’s a fancy camera, but all I do is point and click it.”

He also said that the animal didn’t make any sounds and that he didn’t notice any strange odors, other than the “already pretty pungent swamp smell”.

“I know there are a lot of videos and photos, but thought I’d throw mine on the pile,” he said. “I’ll get more familiar with the camera so I can take a video next time.”

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  1. Alan Lowey

    January 4, 2015 at 4:03 am

    An obvious fake imo

  2. Pablo

    June 19, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    This is as fake as 3 dollar bill.


    June 20, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    I’m not the type to be a naysayer about anybody who claims to be a witness to a bigfoot sighting but having seen one myself in 2003 it seems to me, when comparing what I saw to the photograph, that this one is very gorilla looking whereas the one I saw had a very human looking face. It had a human type nose just larger. So I am not convinced by the photograph. I may be wrong and maybe these guys called skunk apes are more ape like then other regional sasquatchs. Anyone who has had a sighting of skunk apes for real should be able to tell us if this is what they really look like.

  4. Alex Summers

    July 13, 2015 at 9:23 am

    Planet of the apes, the new one shoulder costume. The head is huge, and the shoulders are not as wide as the one I saw. Clearly a fake.

  5. Brett Allen

    September 25, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    The fact that anyone would give this “folk art” the time of day, is simply embarrassing; not only for the media, but for the ‘research” community who wasted any time on it. Why doesn’t anyone listen to First Nation peoples? These are not apes, not monkeys, not monsters, but a people older than man… “elder brothers of man;” a description right out of Genesis… and not the only one BTW. The fact that the majority of “researchers” (who have spent a mere 10, 20, 30 or at best 40 years pursuing this mystery quite unsuccessfully) continue to ignore First Nation knowledge and advice, displays not only extreme arrogance, but at worst… overt racism. The idea that in a few decades any contemporary researcher could have a better understanding than peoples who spent a MILLENNIUM or longer sharing the woods with these giant, hairy, ancient peoples (the richest source of knowledge we have on these beings), is simply foolish… and to me, demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the term “research.” Brett Allen – Cover UFO Magazine 2009 All Things Paranormal 40+yrs. Dutch/Mohawk

  6. Sarinna

    October 10, 2016 at 4:46 am

    Where it says in 2000, photos were mailed to the sheriff’s office…..the link given leads to a page that has since been deleted.didn’t know if y’all knew this or not.

  7. tarn

    July 27, 2017 at 3:29 am

    i mean please

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