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Taming animals

  1. May 10, 2004 #1
    hi guys
    im just curious if its possible to tame a completely wild animal and how long it takes.
    indians use some kind of music tones to make cobras dance and turn completely harmless(even to the point of kissing...it)
    do you start with young animals to tame;is it easier that way.
    i saw one time they took a young cheetah cub and the family lived with it till it grew.so it became too friendly and ofcourse couldnt hunt(used to be fed daily by them),then they had to train it again on how to catch food.it took time again.
    and again things like cats;they still run when they see me but dogs are different.i think their instinct of fearing humans is long dead by now.
    my point is if youre planning to live with another animal,what techniques should you use?do u let it come,run toward it or sing to it?how to go about it
  2. jcsd
  3. May 10, 2004 #2
    Yes, you can tame various wild animals. Some deal with humans better than others. The length of time depends on the method. Some cultures do it very fast, and in ways which do great harm to the animals.
  4. Jun 10, 2008 #3
    Taming Wild Animals

    Speaking from experience, I can give you some helpful information. My dad has always kept exotic animals and I was raised the same way. I'll start with my opossum. My dad got me this opossum one year from a local animal dealer. It was a wild caught opossum and was very mean. I would open his pet carrier everyday with gloves on and pet him. I also fed him treats to gain his trust. The second day I was able to pet him with one bare hand (no glove) while the other gloved hand protected my bare hand. By the third day I could pick him up with gloves. The fourth day he was riding around on my shoulder.
    When my dad was a kid growing up in San Diego, California, he had a weeper capuchin monkey. She was a wild caught juvenile when he got her. It took several days to tame her but he never got bit or had any trouble with her. He said the key to working with primates is to let their curiosity overcome them and wait for them to come to you. A treat or two also helps.
    A few years ago I got two small raccoons that could easily take a huge chunk of your finger off. I let them out of the carrier into my bedroom and just let them run around while I sat down in the corner. As they looked around and check the room out, they would come up to me and sniff out of cuiosity. Never did they attempt to bite or show anger. Eventually they would ride on my shoulder. I got them to do that by playing with them in the bathroom.
    I also had a kinkajou for 4 years. It was a bottle raised baby and was always tame. He was bonded mostly to my dad and dad could do anything with him. He loved to climb up to a high piece of furniture and dive bomb onto my bed with me right next to him.
    The key to taming wild animals is patience and confidence. It does help to start with a baby that has its eyes and ears closed and bottle raise it. If you are dealing with an adult than all you can do is just try and tame it. Don't get angry and hit it or anything like that because that will only move your progress back.
    This summer I am building a breeding cage for raccoons. It has two sides and each side is
    4'x4'x4'. It is going to be all wire held together with j-clips and its elevated off the ground. The waste can fall through the wire and I never have to clean the inside of the cage. I plan to put wild raccoons in them so opening the door isn't the wisest thing you can do. Each cage is also going to have a 2'x2'x2' nest box hung on the outside of the cage with a hingable lockable top that way I can remove babies without having to go inside the cage. Its also going to have two feed stations so the animal can eat from the bowls inside the cage but can't flip the bowls over and I can fill the bowls from the outside of the cage without gettting bit. Lastly I am going to make an automatic watering system.
    Drew (17) South Carolina
  5. Jun 10, 2008 #4


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    So you were abandoned by your parents and raised by wolves...?

    But seriously, what's the point of taking an animal from its habitat and locking it up in a cage? Who is benefitting?
  6. Jun 10, 2008 #5


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    The neediest animals are the easiest ones to tame. The easiest by far are female chipmunks. To breed successfully, they need a large cache of food for the winter - enough to keep them and their brood fed (after the little ones are weaned). Once they started coming around for sunflower seeds under the feeders, I cleaned up all the dropped seeds and sat there quietly with seeds right next to me, then I would hold my hand on the ground, holding the seeds, then up on my thigh (still seated). After a couple of days, the 'munks would come running at me, and climb up my pants and shirt looking in my pockets for seeds. You have to earn their trust in increments, but those increments can be fairly large for chipmunks because they are so focused on building winter caches.
  7. Jun 10, 2008 #6
    You use food, and physical contact, and gain their trust. This question had better just be to satisfy a curiosity and not to actually try this, it's really not good for anybody.
  8. Jun 10, 2008 #7


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    Cobras are deaf by the way, even though the thread is 4 years old nearly. Just thought I'd get that one in. :tongue:
  9. Jun 10, 2008 #8
    Just get a psych 101 book and read the chapter on conditioning.

    I would like to say though, only tame a wild animal if there is NO way to rehabilitate it and release it back into the wild. It is pointless to take an animal out of its natural habitat for your own selfish reasons. Remember, animals will always have a better quality of life in their natural habitats, not following you around the house.
  10. Jun 10, 2008 #9
    RobertM, let me ask you a question. Would you rather be dumped in the Alaskan wilderness or enjoy a nice refreshing home in Hawaii with waiters?

    Kurdt, Cobras can't be tamed no matter how hard you try. I'm supposed to be getting three African Coral Cobras and I would never trust a venomous animal.

    Binzing, people have been trying this for thousands of generations. Why would you say such a thing? There is nothing wrong with raising a baby raccoon, for example, especially if it has lost its mother. I was just reading today about Carl Hagenback who started the Hamburg zoo. You ought to read up on him. I think you'd be interested and well informed. He was the first to tame lions without whips or hot irons. He also developed the first bar-less free open air enclosures that the world had never seen in zoos prior to his existence. He was a huge animal dealer and imported animals from all of the world, wild caught of course.

    Turbo-1, I totally agree with you and it sounds like you have had a few chipmunks in your life. I respect that natural ability to know animals in that way. Its almost like a 6th sense.

    Lisab, no I was abandoned and raised by elephants; that are about 10x smarter than you by the way. The point is that it is just a hobby that some people have. What are your hobbies, or do you have any? Is that why you have to attack other people like this, because you have no life? Only a true animal person could understand and converse in the way that we do.

  11. Jun 10, 2008 #10
    Good point drewman, however I was talking about animals who for hundreds of generations have survived in the same environments. Animals are not humans, nor do they have the mental capacity of humans. Their bodies and brains are not designed for life along side humans. It takes a lot of conditioning to change that on a species level (i.e. dogs)

    My natural habitat is being surrounded by the convinces of modern society, however I did in fact spend several weeks in the southern Appalachian mountains in the fall when it gets bitter cold at night. I simply parked my car and walked into the woods for about a week, and then set up camp. I had no food, water, matches, ect... I brought a small bag of camera gear, two knives, and some local botany material. It was a wonderful experience thank you very much! I just love science and technology too much to live out there permanently....:grumpy:
  12. Jun 10, 2008 #11


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    DOH!!! Posting to dead threads....DOH!!!
  13. Jun 10, 2008 #12


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    Drew, seriously, lighten up! Your sentence structure was funny - it sounded as if your dad raised you like an exotic animal. We're scientists; as a group we tend to be very precise about words.

    I stand by my statement that it's not good to capture a wild animal, keep it in a cage, and slowly watch it go insane. If you disagree, make an argument why it is in the best interest of the animal, but don't get upset if people disagree with you.

    Elephants may be 10 times smarter than me but I guarantee you I dance better.
  14. Jun 10, 2008 #13
    Ha, ha ha. There's a psychological reason for wanting to tame wildlife, as opposed to caring for normal pets (by normal I am including critters such as horses, pigs, ferrets, etc. which are very interesting, but not wildlife).

    Why am I against this? Because there's a lot of irresponsible dipsh!ts that get an animal because its exotic and they think its "cool" and then they eventually grow tired of it and it falls victim to neglect. Or, when these "tamed" animals lose it and revert and end up hurting someone and then they get abused or put down.
  15. Jun 10, 2008 #14
    Lisab, you're right. I'm sorry. I get very defensive about exotic animals. Well I know that elephants are 20x smarter than me and only like 8 or 9x smarter than you lol. Just kidding. And I don't know about the whole dancing thing, I am a pretty funny dancer myself. I go to some of the all-girl Catholic high school dances and do some pretty funny moves out on the dance floor and I'm not afraid to display them either! I'm 17 years old btw, not some creepy 40 year old man. Well keeping animals has been going on for centuries and many people share the hobby, and I am one of them. All of my pets don't go insane or anything like that. I had a kinkajou for four years that any animal person would absolutely love and adore. He was kept in a cage outside. We moved him around a little too much which made him a little testy but other than that my dad, who he was bonded to most, could still do anything with him. We can learn a lot about animals by keeping and breeding them in captivity. Have you ever heard of Dmitri Belyaev. He did a remarkable experience with foxes. Check out this video. http://youtube.com/watch?v=enrLSfxTqZ0 That discovery would have never been made if it wasn't for breeding them in captivity.

    Robert, I don't know about that because monkeys, kinkajous, small primates, sugar gliders, and other exotics get very attached to their humans caregivers. Are you kidding me, I would kill to get an experience like that. I love to get outdoors and camp. I love snakehunting and when I go up to the Pocono Mountains, I get to look for Timber Rattlesnakes. I am also a snake keeper.
  16. Jun 10, 2008 #15


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    Since the old, dead thread has been dragged from its grave, I'll respond on a few points.

    First, "snake charmers" are not taming cobras. They're using the cobra's natural behavior to follow motion to trick the audience, and always stay just out of striking range.

    Second, never mistake a "tame" animal for a "domesticated" animal. A tame animal is still a wild animal that has lost some of its fear of humans. Sometimes this can even render them more dangerous than if they are completely wild.

    Whether or not a wild animal can be tamed sometimes depends on the temperament of the animal itself. I have friends who work in breeding wildcats at a zoo, and they say some litters born at the zoo can be handled almost like domestic kittens, while others are never tame, hissing, biting and clawing from the start and never get any easier to handle.

    binzing and lisab are correct that there is no humane reason to capture a wild animal and keep it confined or in an unnatural environment other than to rehabilitate an injured animal or to breed an endangered species within an approved conservation program. The comparison of wanting to live in HI vs AK is irrelevant. If you were a polar bear adapted for cold climates, living in AK would be far better than HI, and being confined to a small cage where they cannot fully express their natural behaviors is not healthy. The stereotypies that captive animals exhibit are an indicator they are under extreme stress (i.e., lions pacing a cage, birds plucking feathers).

    Keep in mind, also, that in the US anyway, keeping or raising wild animals or exotic animals requires permits, even if you are just trying to be well-intentioned caring for an injured animal. Seek a licensed wildlife rehabilitator if you have an injured wild animal that needs to be cared for.
  17. Jun 10, 2008 #16
    I'm not one of those people that gets exotics because its cool and dumps them when I get bored of it. I love exotics for what they are. People tell me that I only want to get an exotic animal because they think I want to domesticate it. Thats not true. I love wild and exotic animals for what they are and I wouldn't have it any other way. On the other side of the coin, some exotic animals have been used for good purposes. Take the ringtail cat for example. During the gold mining days of the US, miners would catch ringtail cats, tame them, and use them to rid mice in their campsites. Monkeys have been used to fetch fruit in tall trees in Central and South America. Tamanduas have been used to rid ants and termites. There are so many different uses that animals can be used for.
  18. Jun 10, 2008 #17
    (throws a rock on sign)
  19. Jun 10, 2008 #18
    Well this is America and I am going to catch, breed, tame, import, export, buy, sell, and trade exotic animals till the day I die. You are entitled to your opinion, and I am entitled to mine. If you think its cruel or wrong, so be it. I think differently. That doesn't mean we can't be friends.
  20. Jun 10, 2008 #19
    Sure, as long as the animals are as HEALTHY, HAPPY, and MENTALLY SOUND as they can be. First sign to the opposite, and I'd be on you like flies on sh!t.
  21. Jun 10, 2008 #20


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    We have some very skilled rehabilitators not far from here, and I support them with money. I am reluctant to intervene in the injury/death of an individual animal, but I am acutely aware of my responsibility to help to reduce the needless deaths of such animals.
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