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10 Feral Children Raised by Actual Animals

Updated July 30, 2020 1.2m views10 items

There’s no such thing as a happy story about feral kids. Though films like The Jungle Book make life among the animals looks like carefree fun, the most famous feral humans have been left tragically scarred by their ordeal. Throughout modern history, several kids have for whatever reason been left to fend for themselves in the harsh world around us. 

In each of these cases, the children learned to survive by relying on animals. They adopted the characteristics, diet, and behavior of whatever wild animal they spend the most time with. Even today, children find themselves lost among the animals for years at a time, only to be rescued almost against their will. These experiences have an indelible impact on the survivors who come out the other side. Even though they start with an animal taking pity on a poor, lost child, few of these stories have fairy tale endings.

Here is a group of children who managed to survive insurmountable odds in spite of the fact that they had no training and virtually no chance of surviving on their own. Though the real history of feral children is darker than the movies would have you believe, these stories of survival are no less astonishing.

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  • Ng Chhaidy Was Missing For Nearly 40 Years Before She Was Found

    When she was just a little girl in 1974, Ng Chhaidy and her cousin Beirakhu wandered out into the jungle next to their village in India. Beirakhu was found some time later, spinning tales of a mysterious woman who lived in the woods and helped the kids survive. Though a search was mounted, neither the woman nor young Chhaidy was found… until 2012, after more than 38 years apart from her family.

    In 2012, Chhaidy was found in the adoptive care of a woman living in Myanmar. She’d been found living naked in a cemetery four years earlier and had been in the woman’s home ever since. When she reunited with her mother, Chhaidy was (and is) a happy woman, though her personality is remarkably childlike. She’s still able to help her mother with chores, and she loves playing with the village kids.

  • The Study Of Victor, The Wild Boy Of Aveyron, Impacted The Future Of Linguistics

    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    In 1797, 12-year-old Victor was found wandering the wilderness of France. He was captured twice over the next year, but he escaped quickly both times. In 1800, the 15-year-old emerged from the woods of his own accord.

    Because schools for the deaf tended to specialize in helping people speak, the mute teenager was sent to a facility for deaf people. There, he was taken into the care of Jean Marc Gaspard Itard, who began to work with the boy. Unfortunately, Victor proved nearly incapable of learning to speak (he only ever learned two words). Itard’s studies were the first indication that the human brain has a natural cutoff in which the fundamentals of language needed to be imprinted.

    Oh, also, a monk once took Victor out in the snow when the kid was bare-assed, apparently for reasons of scientific inquiry (suuuuuuuuure.) Surprisingly, though, Victor loved it, running and jumping through the snow happily.

  • Sujit Kumar Was Locked in a Chicken Coop for Four Years

    Video: YouTube

    In 1977, Sujit Kumar’s mother committed suicide. Then, the six-year-old’s father was murdered. As a result, he was left in the care of his grandfather, who locked the poor boy in a chicken coop for four years. What’s worse, when he was found, he was sent to an asylum, where they tied him to the bed for the next 20 years.

    When he was found in Fiji by philanthropist Elizabeth Clayton in 2004, she says that when she first encountered the boy, “he pecked at his food and would crouch down as if roosting. His fingers turn inward from scratching around in the dirt, he communicates by making a rapid clicking noise with his tongue and he seems detached from much that goes on around him.”

    These days, Kumar is able to stand upright, and he’s attending school, but the damage of his previous abuse is still a huge part of his life.

  • Ivan Mishukov Escaped Rescue Three Times In Order To Be With His Pack

    The mid-1990s were a pretty bleak time in Russia. The country was suffering turbulent political instability and a crippling economic depression. One of the human victims of these often generalized terms was Ivan Mishukov. In 1996, four-year-old Ivan ran away from an alcoholic father and took refuge in the city streets.

    An avid animal lover, the young boy would spend his days begging for food on the Moscow streets before sharing his spoils with a pack of local dogs. In turn, the pack adopted the young boy, helping him to stave off the crushing Moscow winter, which can sometimes get colder than ten degrees below zero. For two years, Ivan lived with his pack, somehow thriving on the city’s streets. Every time authorities would come to collect him, Ivan’s pack would drive the people away. It took a bribe of steak to lure the dogs away long enough to rescue young Ivan.

    Due to the fact that he was in human custody for the first four years of his life, Ivan was able to re-adapt to society with relative ease.