What’s a Skunk Ape?

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A zoo, too!

The Research Headquarters also hosts a small zoo filled with local creatures like alligators, snakes, turtles, and more. We walked in to check out the Research HQ in the morning and were happy to find out our stay included a tour. The zookeeper Rick walked us through the exhibits and told us about each animal and how it came to be at the zoo. Many were nuisance animals or needed to be rehabilitated and couldn’t be released back into the wild. People have also given up many pet birds to the zoo. Two parrots, in particular, were real ladies’ men. One macaw blushes around any women. It’s quite endearing to see the cheek feathers on this bird turn pink from your sight. Another cockatoo always chooses one female in each tour as his own. This lucky lady gets all his attention and since we were the only ones there that morning, that lady was me. He sat on my shoulder and tilted his head, but if Brandon would venture too close, all his feathers would go up in a show of dominance. I was his lady! Rick told us it didn’t matter if there were five women in a group, he would choose one and then treat the rest as males.

Macaw and Kerensa

What a sweetie!

Cockatoo and Kerensa

Me and my new boyfriend

For an overnight stop in the middle of nowhere, this place has a lot to appreciate. You can walk through the displays up front, check out the zoo, or you see what wildlife you can find in the campground. Personally, we were taken aback by the giant grasshoppers on giant leaves and the small alligator in the pond across from our RV. This little guy was trying to hide out from the big dudes on Alligator Alley and wasn’t too concerning. I still wouldn’t walk the dogs too close, though.

Giant grasshoppers

How many grasshoppers do you see?

Alligator in Pond

You should know

  • The Skunk Ape Research Headquarters and Trail Lakes Campground is located in Ochopee, FL
  • Everglades Adventures Tours also offers eco-tours out of this location
  • You can bait for skunk apes on private property with dry beans

Florida Panther statue

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