As humans, we are always fascinated with wild animals and looking for different ways to connect from a distance; Going to different zoos to watch them through the fenced and glass enclosures because of our fear of being eaten alive by a lion or panther. Or even going to aquariums to look at the sharks, stingrays, and octopuses through the thick glass but never daring to get close and personal with them in the wild—let alone in our homes.
Over the years, we have heard terrifying stories of people being attacked by lions, crocodiles, bears, etc. We’ve heard people complain about iguanas eating their harvest or squirrels digging up their flower pots. From our perspective, wild animals are to be seen from afar and not interacted with. But these ten people obviously see things differently.
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10Butter the Opossum
Most people despise opossums and classify them as huge rodents that scavage through your trash at night, looking for food to survive. People make videos about them being vicious and mean, but it turns out that is far from the truth. They might get hungry from time to time and go through your trash, but they are not a part of the rodent species and are far from terrifying. In fact, they are quite the opposite of the vicious opossum many assume them to be.
They usually play dead when predators approach, and not by choice as their whole body goes into shock from the fear of being attacked. In addition, they are members of the marsupial order Didelphimorphia and quite loveable, according to a woman named Stephanie who appeared on “The Dodo.” After rescuing a baby opossum who was the only survivor after his mother fell, the woman took him straight back to her home to nurse him to health.
She had plans to eventually let him back into the wild, but he began to grow very attached to her and didn’t want to leave. And neither did the opossum, Butter. After several attempts at getting him familiar with being outside, he would always come back to her, ready to greet her with kisses and “slubs.”
9Kojek the Crocodile
After the latest attack on a man in Brazil swimming for his life away from an alligator on Saturday, October 23, 2021, I’m sure people thought there was “no way I would have one near me, let alone as a pet!” But a man in Indonesia might have to disagree with you after living with his crocodile for 21 years, along with his wife and three children.
Irwan saved the 10-centimeter (4-inch) baby crocodile from some young boys who were tormenting it. He paid the boys’ fishermen fathers for the croc, then took it in and cared for him for 21years, feeding him two kilos (4.5 pounds) of fish twice a week, cleaning his water once a week, and giving him a soapy bath weekly. His family feels completely safe around the crocodile (named Kojek) and has accepted him as a part of their family.
A conservation group removed the overweight crocodile from the family in 2018—he was a hefty boy at 200 kg (450 pounds). Kojek now resides in Bogor’s Taman Safari conservation park, where he was put on a strict diet. Not completely separated from his pet, Irwan sometimes still visits him at the park.
Forget sky diving; just take in a crocodile to get your adrenaline pumping.
8JB the Beaver
If you ever have a water leak in your home, just call on the JB the beaver to build up a damn on the spot. Meet JB—Justin Beaver—a beaver rescued by a woman who runs a recuse center in Kentucky. She found JB outside all alone without his mother.
JB now spends his days taking all sorts of items from around the house and building up forts to continue his innate work from within his new home. Also, JB requires to be in clean water three to four times a day. He still gets to enjoy his favorite types of tree branches and gets the luxury of eating sweet potatoes. And with a new outdoor pond specially built for him, JB is now living the North American beaver dream.
7Gypsy & Monaco the Bobcats
If you can’t deal with the size of a lion in your home, why not go for a bobcat. A couple in Texas decided to seek out two bobcats—Gypsy and Monaco—to add to their family as a traditional cat was just not going to cut it. They have been graciously caring for these cats, feeding them a fatty diet full of a variety of meats. They’re also enjoying the luxury of not worrying about cleaning a litter box because these two bobs pee in the toilet!
These two cats are apparently quite loving, and the couple hasn’t had any issues with damages to their furniture since caring for them. Melissa & Mark have not been injured other than a few scratches and more than a few scabs. After owning multiple animals from different species, this is the deepest bond they have experienced, and considering bobcats live for between 20 and 30 years, they’re in it for the long haul.
6Toby the Pig
Millions of Americans eat pork, running to the store to pick up their bacon to go with their perfect breakfast. But for this couple, bacon isn’t an option. After going to a dog kennel, they found a rescue pig named Toby, who escaped from a farm and was brutally attacked by dogs. The couple instantly felt connected to him and wanted to help heal and care for him as the sight of a 500-pound pig in this kennel looking sickly was breaking their hearts, so they took him home and cared for him.
While he healed, they bonded with the pig very deeply, sitting with him every day and giving him the strength to pull through his pain. As time passed, he gathered his strength and started going outside to experience real freedom and real care. Now Toby is more vibrant and feels safe and content with his new home and family.
5Jimmy the Bear
For campers all over America, they make sure they take their trusty bear bag to repel bears away from their campsite. But meet this couple that does quite the opposite. Meet the Kodiak bear family located in Otisville, New York.
This family runs a wildlife rescue and, in 2016, owned 11 bears, caring for them as if they were their own children. Their largest Kodiak bear—Jimmy—weighed 1,400 pounds, and they had him for 21 years since he was a cub. They feed their bears berries, baby elk, salmon, and grains. With respect for their strength and ability to kill, Jim and Susan still interact and play with their very large “children.” I think I’ll just stick to my good old stuffed teddy bear, how about you?
4Tiny Tim the Donkey
From carrying silk to licking dishes off that have milk residue, meet Tiny Tim, the miniature donkey that was so small that his human mother thought he wouldn’t survive. Not realizing their two donkeys had mated, Jossy was surprised to find the tiny 10-pound newborn donkey lying in some hay in the barn. Rejected by its mother, she took him into the house and hand fed him every 20 minutes. He began to thrive and has since become a welcome member of the family. Apparently, having a donkey is just like having a dog. He wags his tail and drinks out of the toilet, just like his two dog buddies.
At just 70 pounds now, Tiny has learned how to pee outside with the dogs and has become completely house trained. According to Tiny’s owners, he’s easier to train than a dog! So for all you people considering a puppy, maybe you should consider a wild ass instead.
3A Clan of Hyenas
When you visit PetSmart, you definitely won’t find this scavenging dog, let alone more than one. Talk about a man with a thrill to live on the edge, quite literally risking his well-being by making these animals his companions. Yes, I said companions! A man named Kevin Richardson, more famously known as the Lion Whisperer, has made himself a part of a clan of hyenas.
Kevin has to constantly assert his dominance to stay out of the hospital. According to Kevin, he’s been working with large carnivores for 15 years and has received a fair number of scratches and bites from the hyenas and a few lions too. His relationship with the hyenas took years to develop, and his work hopes to change people’s opinions about these often misunderstood creatures.
Even though these are hyenas, play it safe and pay your penance to Anubis just in case you decide to bond with one of these wild dog-like creatures.
2Wild Thing the Bison
“Wild Thing, you make my heart sing”—it seems like this man has this song running through his head all day long. A bold man named R.C. Bridges has a companion who protects him and his property at all costs. Meet Wild Thing the bison—or buffalo as he’s called in the video.
After having a rough start when Wild Thing was a calf constantly headbutting R.C. to dominate him, R.C’s determination eventually softened Wild Thing up. Now the wild animal enjoys dinner inside R.C.’s home and turns into a graceful beast as soon as he steps foot in the house. WARNING: Kids don’t try this at home.
1Jessica the Hippo
Who knew that when they created the Hungry Hungry Hippo game that the universe was preparing us for this news. A couple in South Africa care for a lovely hippo named Jessica, who enjoys rooibos tea and plenty of snacks. Jessica was separated from her mother at a very young age and washed up on the South African couple’s doorstep with her umbilical cord still attached. Now, Jessica is like a “daughter” to Shirley.
Jessica lives two lives, one with her human parents, who raised her, and one in the waters as a free hippo. She comes and goes as she pleases and is completely happy and truly connected with these people. This one takes the number one spot without a doubt!
So there you have it, folks. These brave souls dared to connect with the scariest parts of nature and made solid, lasting connections that will last in our collective minds forever. Did this shift your perspective? Will you be the next person to journey into this rediscovered territory, or will you stay behind the walls and glass of the zoo, wondering what if?