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COUNTY: Brevard County
LOCATION DETAILS: North Mosquito Lagoon
NEAREST TOWN: New Smyrna Beach
NEAREST ROAD: A1A
OBSERVED: I'm a fishing guide in Florida for over 25 years and spend apx 200 days on the water a year. On a charter last month I had a Delta pilot and lawyer on my boat. As we poled into a remote area of the Merrit island National Wildlife Refuge,I noticed something bent over and walking up a sand bank,apx 100 yards from us. It was just after good daylight. I thought bear?,hog? as it walked closer,one of my clients noticed it and said,"what the f(*& is that?" I was speechless,it walked to within 40 yards,stood up and faced us for about 15 sec. It took 3 steps,turned sideways and looked at us over it's shoulder for another 10 sec,then walked into the mangroves. The pilot said that was a F(*& sasquatch! It was apx. 6/7 ft tall,long reddish brown hair, and was built like a side by side fridge,very square. It's face looked more cave man then ape. The wind was in our face and we were silent in my flats skiff,I think that is why he did'nt know we were there as he was hunting the sand beach for food.
OTHER WITNESSES: yes 2
TIME AND CONDITIONS: apx 7a.m. clear warm,wind N/ne 5/10
ENVIRONMENT: mangrove swamp with dry palm islands
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator David Wright:
April 30, 2015 - This report was updated to add a sketch, see below.
This witness was interviewed for over an hour on July 10, 2011. He was found to be entirely credible and believable. The witness' responses to variable questioning concerning this incident produced no indication that this was a fabrication, but a description of an actual encounter.
On a particular morning of May 2011, the witness was fishing with two clients; a commercial pilot and an attorney, in an area known as Mosquito Lagoon. As he was poling his flats boat quietly near the shore of a mangrove hammock at low tide he observed something up the bank, approaching them at a distance of about 100 yards. Its color being reddish brown, he first thought it might be a feral hog or possibly a bear. It was not standing upright at this time, but was bent at the waist with its long arms hanging down and swinging side to side with its fingers curled, apparently searching the sand for shell fish and/or crustaceans. When it reached within 40 yards the witness exclaimed, "What the !#$* is THAT!?" His clients looked up and the pilot exclaimed, "That's a Sasquatch!" At that time the creature turned and faced them and stood fully erect. His next thought was, "That thing is as wide as my side-by-side refrigerator/freezer!" This thought occurred because its torso was so broad, square, and thick; "very stocky and muscular". He stated that its face looked like a guy with "a ZZ Top beard", but had no hair on its forehead. This frontal stare lasted about 15 seconds until the creature turned and continued right to left several steps, whereupon it turned back over its shoulder and made a guttural harrumph or snort, after which it turned and walked silently into the mangroves. The witness stated that he had seen large footprints in this area before and wondered at the time, "Why would somebody come back in here to fish from the shore?" He commented that on these previous occasions he surmised that the large size of the prints had to do with the soft sand, or tidal wash of the prints.
The specifics and physical characteristics of the encounter and the creature were as follows;
- The total duration of the sighting was about 2 minutes.
- Winds were N, at 5-10 knots and they were downwind of the creature.
- The creature appeared, walking bipedally, bent forward at the waist, swinging its arms back and forth over the surface of the sand of the intertidal zone at low tide, as though it were searching for shellfish or crustaceans in the sand.
- The size of the creature was estimated at 7' at over 300 pounds.
- The creature was described as very stocky and muscular. It was noticeably thick in the torso (not fat). Its shoulder width was estimated at about 4 1/2' and its chest was estimated at over 2' thick, front-to-back.
- Its hair was dark reddish brown, approximately 10" long, and hung down "like the hair of a collie dog." It had long hair coming off its head, no hair on its forehead, and a distinguishable, mustache and beard.
- It's skin was brownish black.
- Its nose was flatter that that of a human, but not really ape-like; "more like a cave man" nose.
- It had a slight brow ridge, but not protruding.
- No ape-like muzzle was identified.
- Its head was oval, taller than wide and no distinct conical crown was noticed.
- Ears were not distinguished.
- No neck was noticeable from the front, however it was noticed when the creature turned and looked at them over its shoulder upon its departure.
- The creature's arms were proportionally longer than a hman, with the inward facing palms approaching knee length at fully erect posture. It had observable hair on the back of the hands and fingers. Its fingers were held straight but slightly curled inward when standing erect, while they were curled up as the animal walked bent over, apparently looking for morsels of food in the sand.
- Its stride was short when bent over looking for food, but open with longer steps in retreat.
- Upon its retreat, the creature turned back at them as it strode away, giving a loud, guttural, airy grunt or "harrumph!" in their direction.
- It left them by entering very quietly into the mangroves and was no longer visible.
There was nothing in this interview or report by the witness to indicate that it was a fabrication. The witness even plans to return to this area in the fall when it is cooler, to seek out another encounter with this or another such creature. It is the impression of this investigator that this witness and his clients encountered a Sasquatch, or what is locally called, a Florida Skunk-Ape.
The habitat of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge where this encounter took place provides a wide variety of habitats, including coastal dunes, saltwater estuaries and marshes, freshwater impoundments, scrub, pine flatwoods, and hardwood hammocks, with dynamic salinity changes with varying rainfall and tidal flow. These are among the most biologically productive ecosystems in North America. This area supports 330 species of birds, 117 of fishes, 65 of amphibians and reptiles, 31 of mammals, and 1,045 species of plants. The bio-abundance of Florida’s estuarine ecosystem has supported millions of humans for centuries, and there is no reason to believe that this productive environment could not support other large mammals such as these.
Witness sketch created by BFRO artist Sybilla Irwin
About BFRO Investigator David Wright:
- Certified Florida Master Naturalist (U. of Florida)
- Visual Tracker, Level 1
- Teaches Biology, A.P. Biology, Ecology, and Environmental Science at a rural high school SE of Jacksonville
- See local TV interview with D. Wright
- Participated in the 2007 Private Florida Expedition [Click the video link on that page.], the 2007 South Carolina Expedition, the 2008 South Florida Expedition and assisted with the organization of the 2008 North Florida Expedition. Assisted with the organization of the 2009 Central Florida Expedition.