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Feral Children: 5 Children Who Were Raised By Animals

Nurture vs nature has long been a pivotal argument between the development of children and subsequently the actions of adults. Is a child born a certain way with these characteristics, or were those characteristics imprinted  by their parents? Some philosophers argue that children are born like a blank slate, or ‘tabula rasa.’ The blank slate is essential an empty panel for parents and guardians to write and imprint on. As the children grow up, the blank slate becomes filled with different impressions and information until it is no longer a blank slate but an original, individual slate.

If life is simply nurture, and based on how we are brought up, then what happens when another species, besides a human, decides to raise us?

Here is a list of 5 children (out of 100 in the world) who were raised by animals.

1. Oxana Malaya. Known as the dog girl, is a pretty clear indicator that nurture plays a bigger role than nature. At merely 3 years old, her alcoholic parents paid her no mind and left her outside one night. Like all humans, she craved warmth and shelter so she crawled to the closest thing that could provide her with that, the dog kennel.

As she crawled into the dog kennel and ate what scraps they had left, she slowly began to become one of the pack and less like a human. Her parents hardly noticed that she was missing and it wasn’t until 5 years later that a neighbor notified the police that a little girl was being raised by dogs.


By the time she was found, she had lost all ability to speak, and was running on all fours. Once a child misses the chance to learn how to speak by age 5, it becomes nearly impossible for them to grow up with the abilities of human language.


She is now almost 34 years old and lives in a home for the mentally disabled. She tends to the farm animals but surprisingly doesn’t spend much time with her pet dog. Her tone is flat and emotionless and there is no rhythm to when she speaks.

Experts who have been to Ukraine to visit her say she has the mental capacity of a 6 year old and a low tolerance for boredom. She can follow directions well and loves to be the center of attention. When given anything, her first instinct is to hide it, just like a dog with a bone.



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