Children Who Were Raised By Animals

Step aside Tarzan and Mowgli–you’re not the only ones with wild family members. There’s numerous stories from all over the world of children, for one reason or another, being taken in and cared for by animals who treated them no differently than their own. Some managed to reintegrate into human society, while others resisted and went back to their old life. In this article, we’ll highlight the stories of five children who were raised by animals.

1. A Boy Raised by Goats

In 1990, a young boy, later named Daniel, was rescued in the Andes mountain range in Peru. Daniel had been there since he was eight, and for nearly a decade he survived on nothing but goat milk, wild fruits and roots. Both mentally and physically, Daniel was truly a member of his goat family—he communicated with them by bleating, years of walking on all fours left his bones deformed and his hands were hardened with callouses. Eventually, Daniel relocated to Kansas University and the Kansas State University for further studies.

2. Lyokha, Raised by Russian Wolves

In 2007, Russian police rescued a young boy after villagers reported spotting him in the Kaluga region of Central Russia. The boy, Lyokha, lived outside a den made of leaves and twigs despite the freezing temperature. Like Daniel, he mimicked the mannerisms of his caretakers who happened to be wolves, exhibiting non-human traits and nails so long that they resembled claws. Lyokha was taken to a hospital near Moscow, where the staff bathed him, took blood samples and cut his nails. Uncomfortable by the new environment, Lyokha took off after only one day, never to be seen again.

3. Rochom P’ngieng

After noticing that his food was disappearing for several days, a Cambodian villager kept an eye out for the culprit who turned out to be a 29-year old woman named Rochom P’ngieng. According to her father, Rochom disappeared when she was eight, along with her six-year-old sister while herding cattle. It is believed that she survived by befriending animals, particularly monkeys, due to her stature and gait. Her vocabulary was limited to only three words, and she refused to keep any clothes on. Over the three years since she was discovered, Rochom attempted to escape numerous times, finally succeeding for good in May 2010.

4. Marina Chapman

Marina Chapman was only five-years-old when she was kidnapped and left for dead in the Columbian jungle. Alone and scared, the resilient little girl came across a tribe of Capuchin monkeys, who she copied for five years, learning how to forage for food and to avoid predators. She was eventually rescued by hunters who sold her to a brothel. After escaping, Marina lived on the streets and was saved by a woman named Maruja whose daughter adopted her at 14-years-old. Shortly after, she was sent to England to work as a nanny where she still lives to this day as a happy housewife of two.

5. Hadara, Raised by Ostriches

In the early 1900s, a two-year-old boy named Hadara found himself stranded in the Sahara desert after separating from his parents. Against all odds, Hadara survived in those dire conditions for ten long years before being rescued. It was his ostrich family who looked after him, and kept him alive and well all this time. Despite not being fond of humans, the long-legged birds treated him like family. Like Marina Chapman, Hadara was able to successfully assimilate into human society and is now happily married with a family of his own.

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