Sociology Index


A feral child is who has been raised and protected from infancy by animals. The fera in feral child refers to wild, untamed, uncultivated. A feral child is the human that has nearly become an animal. How did a feral child end up in such inhumane situation. Feral child stories tell more about ourselves, than the so-called feral child. We define the normal and that’s reason why these stories capture our imaginations. The most famous example of feral child is the ‘Wild Boy of Averon’ who was a feral child discovered in 1800 at the age of eleven or twelve after having apparently been raised by animals. Although considerable effort was made to ‘civilize’ the feral child, there was little success and only a few words were mastered. The case of feral child is offered in the social sciences to emphasize the importance of socialization and the social nature of the human species.

A feral child is also called wild child. A feral child is a human child who has lived isolated from human contact from a very young age, and so has had little or no experience of human care, behavior or human language. There are several confirmed feral child cases and other speculative ones. Feral children lack the basic social skills that are normally learned in the process of enculturation. Feral children may have experienced severe abuse or trauma before being abandoned or running away. Feral children are sometimes the subjects of folklore and legends, typically portrayed as having been raised by animals. A more recent example of a feral child growing up in isolation from human contact is found in the story of Genie (Curtiss 1977).

Illicit Crossings - The Other at the Human/Animal Boundary
H. Peter Steeves (DePaul University).
Abstract: In an effort to understand what we mean by “human” and “animal,” how it is that we decide crises of Otherness and alterity along such axes, this paper looks at the question of feral child or feral children (“human” children raised in the wild by “nonhuman animals”) and Bigfoot creatures (“animals” that are very nearly “human”).