To coax her two daughters to sleep, British housewife Marina Chapman would tell them bedtime stories about growing up in the jungle. These were no fairy tales, though — they were based on her own life. At the age of 5, Chapman, who then lived in Colombia, was reportedly kidnapped and abandoned in the jungle, left for dead. She managed to join a tribe of capuchin monkeys, “copying what they ate and drank, their social activities, their language,” until she was a part of the family, which she stayed with for five years. Chapman chronicles her extraordinary tale in her book The Girl With No Name: The Incredible True Story of the Girl Raised by Monkeys, but hers is not the first incredible tale of a child raised in the wild. Here, Marina’s story and five other reported cases of children raised by animals:
1. Raised by monkeys
When she was about five years old, Marina Chapman says she was kidnapped, probably for ransom, but was then abandoned in the Colombian jungle. For some five years, she lived out in the wild, where she was taken in by a group of capuchin monkeys, which experts say are known to accept young children into their fold. The animals taught young Marina how to catch birds and rabbits with her bare hands, so she was able to survive. She rejoined the human world when she was taken by hunters and sold to a brothel, from which she eventually escaped.
2. Raised by goats
In June 2012, social workers in Russia discovered a toddler who had been locked in a room with goats by his mother. The boy reportedly played and slept with the goats, but nourishment was apparently hard to come by as he weighed a third less than a typical child of his age. When the child was rescued, his mother had disappeared. Doctors have since tried to acclimate the toddler to human life, with some difficulty. “He refused to sleep in the cot. He tried to get underneath and sleep there. He was very scared of adults,” one doctor said. Read more