One of the biggest puzzles surrounding the Bigfoot enigma – aside from the issue of what the creatures really are, of course – concerns the feet of the beasts. Which is pretty appropriate, given the name! Rather oddly, when it comes to the matter of the world’s most famous cryptozoological monster, there are reports of Bigfoot having three toes, four toes, and five. On the issue of the so-called Fouke Monster of Arkansas, Roadside Creatures notes: “This smelly, ape-like thing has long arms, a barrel chest, big red eyes, and is covered in shaggy dark hair. It’s been described as anywhere from four to ten feet tall. An examination of its unique three-toed footprints by a local newspaper led to the conclusion that it would wear shoe size 14EE.”
Lyle Blackburn, who wrote the definitive book on the Fouke Monster, The Beast of Boggy Creek, says of this three-toed issue: “The trouble with most of the prominent Fouke Monster tracks is that they show the creature as having three toes. While there have been some ‘Bigfoot’ tracks found elsewhere across the United States that possess this three-toed configuration and even a four-toed configuration, in general, the Sasquatch is theorized to have five toes, which would be typical of any other higher primate, whether extinct or living in the world today.”
Blackburn adds: “If the Fouke Monster is presumed to be one of these animals, and it does indeed have three toes, this may suggest that it is some species separate from any proposed population of Sasquatch creatures that may exist in the countryside.”
The late John Green, one of the key figures in the quest to solve the Bigfoot riddle, had his own thoughts on this particular issue. Admittedly, Green’s words don’t make the toe issue any clearer, but they are at least worth noting: “Most show five toes, but about 20 percent of reports describe either four toes or three toes. Probably the proportion with less than five toes is not actually that great. The number of toes often is not mentioned in a footprint report, and it seems likely that when prints show three or four toes that would usually be remarked on, while five toes would be taken for granted.”
Green offered the following, too: “If there were just five-toed tracks and three-toed tracks and each type was of consistent shape, I would accept that as a clear indication of two different species. Since there are four-toed tracks as well, and the three-toed kind are very inconsistent in shape, I don’t think such a conclusion would help much.”
Of course, the most likely explanation is that some of the assumed Bigfoot tracks are not what they appear to be: they are hoaxed prints made by pranksters. Certainly, Lyle Blackburn notes in his book, The Beast of Boggy Creek, that a number of three-toed tracks found in Fouke, Arkansas in the early 1970s were suspected of being fakes. But, does that mean all such cases can be explained away in such a fashion? Not necessarily, no. There is the inbreeding issue, too. Although, not all Bigfoot-seekers believe that this is likely. Cliff Barackman says: “I would disagree that footprints showing three or four toes indicates inbreeding, though. I think that these footprints either strongly illustrate the flexibility of the sasquatch foot, or are the results of outright hoaxes.”
And then there is what is probably the most controversial theory of all. Namely, could there be more than one kind of Bigfoot – or anomalous, unknown ape – in the United States? Whatever the truth of the situation, all we can say with certainty is that yes, there is something very strange about Bigfoot’s big feet.