Feral children have been isolated from human contact from a very young age and grow up wild, sometimes being taken care of by animals.
10. Marina Chapman, raised my monkeys
Chapman’s story is extraordinary. She was abducted, dumped in the jungle and left for dead. There, she lived with Capuchins and learned how to survive on fruit and nuts. Five years later she spotted some hunters and they led her out of the jungle.
From there, incredibly, matters got worse. The hunters sold her as a slave to a cruel brothel keeper. Eventually she was adopted by a kindly family, part of which later emigrated to Britain. In Bradford she found love and started a family of her own.
9. Amala and Kamala, raised by wolfs
In October 1920, Reverend Joseph Singh, a missionary in charge of an orphanage in Northern India, heard of two ghostly spirit figures seen accompanying a band of wolves in the Bengal jungle. The wolf girls were about 18 months (Amala) and eight years old (Kamala) when they were found together in a wolves’ den. Because of the age difference no one believed that the two girls were sisters. People assumed they must have been taken away by wolves in two different occasions. Singh tried to help the girls, but soon Amala, the younger one, got sick and died. Kamala was able to learn about thirty words in a few years.
8. John Ssebunya, raised by monkeys
Born in a village near Bombo, Uganda, and with only two years witnessed his father murder his mother and, fearing for his life, fled to the jungle. For three years, John Ssebunya had been raised and adopted by a family of monkeys, which were later identified as green vervet, which not only allowed him to join his group, but also taught him all their customs, as well as methods required for jungle survival.
Finally, John was taken to a nearby Christian orphanage.
7. Madina, raised by dogs
A three-year-old girl has been found being cared for by dogs while her alcoholic mother neglected her. Social workers discovered the girl in her mother’s house in Russia, naked and walking on all fours, gnawing bones with the dogs who she clung to for warmth. The child, called Madina, only knows two words – yes and no – and growls like a dog when people come too close.
6. Todler, kept alive by cats
Argentinian police discovered an abandoned 1-year-old boy surrounded by eight wild cats in 2008. They observed that as they approach the child, the cats became very protective and even aggressive. The police found that the cats had been keeping the child alive during the harsh winter by constantly licking him and staying on top of him, like a living blanket.
To make things even more touching, they even brought him scraps of food, which they would not eat and save for him. Had it not been for the cats, the toddler would not have made it through the winter. The boy, who had been living with the cats for “several days,” apparently became separated from his homeless father while the latter was collecting cardboard to sell.
5. Andrei Tolstyk, raised by a dog
His mother left home when he was three months old, entrusting Andrei’s care to his alcoholic invalid father who also appears to have abandoned the boy soon afterwards and drifted away.
Incredibly, the hamlet of Bespalovskoya where the family lived was so sparsely populated and the house so remote that the parents’ absence went unnoticed by the lonely outpost’s few other inhabitants.
Instead, Andrei reportedly forged a close bond with the only other living thing around, the family guard dog, which somehow helped the young baby survive and grow up.
4. Traian Caldarar, raised by wild dogs in Transylvanian woods
The feral child was found by a shepherd two months ago, barely alive, huddled in a cardboard box, naked and the size of a three-year-old. He had forgotten how to speak.
Doctors say it would have been almost impossible for him to have survived alone, and think that he was looked after by wild dogs in the Transylvanian forests.
When rescued, he was suffering from severe malnutrition and rickets, and his circulation was bad, possibly because of earlier frostbite. He became violent when hungry, and preferred to sleep under his bed.
3. Ivan Mishukov, raised by a dog pack
Born in 1992, Ivan Mishukov lived with wolves between the age of 4 and 6 years old. He ran away from home to escape his mother’s alcoholic and abusive boyfriend and entered the ranks of a feral dog pack. Ivan gained the dogs’ trust by providing them with food, and in return, he was protected by the pack. Eventually, he was made pack leader. He was taken by the police three times and subsequently escaped, helped by the pack. He was ultimately captured by leaving a lot of food outside of a restaurant. He relearned language fairly rapidly.
2. Cambodian jungle girl
In 1989 Rochom P’ngieng disappeared into the jungle in Cambodia at the age of eight, and was not reunited with her family for 18 years. When she reappeared in 2007, she became the subject of a media circus. She walked on all fours, didn’t speak and didn’t want to wear clothes. It was reported in 2010 that she had fled back to the jungle, but was found a few days later.
1. Marcos Rodríguez Pantoja, raised by wolfs
Marcos Rodríguez Pantoja is a noted feral child. He was reportedly sold to a hermetic goat herder at the age of seven but soon found himself alone in the mountains. Having suffered years of beatings from his stepmother, he preferred the solitude of the mountains to human company. His story is a very special one, not only because he lived for 12 years in the wild with the wolves and other animals, but also because he spent a lot of time trying to integrate back into society (he is 68 years old today), and was only partly successful.
“The animals guided me as to what to eat. Whatever they ate, I ate,” he says. “The wild boars ate tubers buried under the soil. They found them because they smelled them. When they were digging the soil looking for them, I threw a stone at them – they would run away and then I would steal the tubers.”
He started to establish a special relationship with some animals, especially with a family of wolves.
“One day I went into a cave and started to play with wolf cubs that lived there and I fell asleep. Later, the mother brought food for them and I woke up. She saw me and looked fiercely at me. The wolf started to rip the meat apart. A cub got close to me and I tried to steal his food, because I was hungry as well. The mother pawed at me. I backed off. After feeding her pups she threw me a piece of meat. I didn’t want to touch it because I thought she was going to attack me, but she was pushing the meat with her nose. I took it, ate it, and thought she was going to bite me, but she put her tongue out, and started to lick me. After that, I was one of the family.”
He also had a snake as a companionll it followed him around and shared food with him. Bit by bit, sounds and growls replaced his words, and he only felt good when he was surrounded by other animals. He can still reproduce the sound of the deer, the fox, the aguililla (booted eagle) and several other animals.
“Once they answered, I would be able to sleep because I knew they hadn’t abandoned me,” he says.