Dec 04 2015

8 Children Raised By Animals

We’ve all heard of humans raising animals, but what about animals raising children? Here are 8 incredible true stories of people raised by wild animals.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      8. Bello and the Chimpanzees

Abandoned by his parents as an infant due to physical and mental disabilities, Bello was found by a pod of chimpanzees and cared for as one of their own. He was found amongst his chimpanzee family and was found to be non-verbal and completely feral. Even after six years he would still revert to a more primal state although was calmer. He passed away in 2005.


Child’s Name: Bello

Animal: Chimpanzee

Years with the Animals:

Age When Found: ~2

Date Found: 1996

Location: Nigeria

7. John and the Monkeys

After witnessing his father brutally murder his mother, two to three-year-old John ran away and was adopted by a vervet monkey family who cared for him for 3+ years. Found by a young girl as he was hiding in a tree, he was caught and returned to a human village where he was treated for parasites, scars, and other wounds. As he had spent the first two to three years with his human family, his speech did return after a period of time. While he still has some issues with looking people in the eye, he has come a long way to overcome his trials. He now sings with the Pearl of Africa children’s choir and has talked about a career with animals.


Child’s Name: John Ssebunya

Animal “Parents:” Vervet Monkeys

Years with the Animals: 3

Age When Found: 6

Date Found: 1991

Location: Uganda

6. Natasha and the Dogs

While technically living with her father and other relatives, Natasha was not treated as a family member. Instead she behaved like one of the dogs. The size of a 2-year-old, 5-year-old Natasha does not know many skills that a much younger child would have. It is unknown whether she will ever speak or adapt to civilized life. Her mother has accused her father of kidnapping her although these charges have not been proven.


Child’s Name: Natasha Mikhailova

Animal “Parents:” Dogs

Years with the Animals: 3

Age When Found: 5

Date Found: 2009

Location: Chita, Russia

5. Alex and the Dogs

Despite his short time on this earth, Alex had already suffered through more than most people have to deal with in their lives. Abandoned by his mother as an infant, he grew up in multiple government children’s homes that he often tried to escape from. In 1998, he was successful and spent two years being cared for by a pack of wild dogs. In an attempt to flee from capture, he tried jumping into the ocean. When he was brought back to care, he drew a picture of his family: the dogs he had been living with. He has no desire to be with humans and continues to be depressed and aggressive wanting only to return to the dogs who cared for him. In cases like this, it is often debated what the most humane solution to these cases is. Whether to capture the animal the child was with so that they have a familiar face and risk a slower integration into human society, or to risk the child’s mental well-being to attempt faster integration.


Child’s Name: Alex

Animal “Parents:” Dogs

Years with the Animals: 2+

Age When Found: 11

Date Found: 2001

Location: Santiago, Chile

4. Andrei and the Guard Dog

Andrei was a young boy with auditory and verbal difficulties that caused his parents to desert him at a mere 3-months-old. He found refuge with a local guard dog that taught him what was safe to eat, kept him warm, and protected him. Unfortunately, not much is known about this case or what to expect for Andrei’s future. In cases where children are not exposed to language before the age of 3, the chances of them ever speaking in the future is very slim to non-existent. In the case of Andrei, you can’t help but wonder what is going to happen to him as he gets older.


Child’s Name: Andrei Tolstyk

Animal “Parents:” Dog

Years with the Animals: 7

Age When Found: 7

Date Found: 2004

Location: Russia

3. Lyokha and the Wolves

For Lyokha, a young 10-year-old boy in Russia, his capture was short-lived, and his current whereabouts are unknown. Captured from a pack of wolves, he was only in care long enough to be cleaned up and have his nails trimmed. Within 24-hours he had escaped, possibly back to his wolf family. During his stay with the people who returned him to civilization, Lyokha did not speak and avoided human contact.


Child’s Name: Lyokha

Animal “Parents:” Wolves

Years with the Animals: Unknown

Age When Found: 10+

Date Found: 2007

Location: Russia

2. Kamala, Amala, and the Wolves

One of the most famous, and best-documented case of children who were raised by animals. Sisters, by blood or through circumstance, Kamala and Amala were found living in the den of a wolf family. They could not speak, walked on their hands and feet, growled, and barked. Unfortunately, both ended up sick within a year of being captured and Amala, the younger one, died. Kamala eventually learned several words and became more tolerant of people; however, she too passed away eight years after her sister from a similar illness.


Child’s Name: Kamala & Amala

Animal “Parents:” Wolves

Years with the Animals: Unknown

Age When Found: 8-years-old and 18-months-old

Date Found: 1920

Location: India

1. Daniel and the Goats

Daniel is a boy that was found living in the Andes with a herd of wild goats. He had been living in the wild for eight years and was able to communicate with his goat family. His feet had hardened to help him survive in the dangerous mountains, and he had been surviving on goats milk and whatever he could forage. He was unable to speak, and it is unsure whether he ever will gain that ability.


Child’s Name: Daniel

Animal “Parents:” Goats

Years with the Animals: 8

Age When Found: 12

Date Found: 1990

Location: Peru