Feral childrenFeral children are lost or abandoned children, or even children taken by animals, who survive in conditions of social isolation from an extremely young age. They can be adopted and brought up by animals, or somehow survive on their own.
While the idea of lost or abandoned children being raised by wolves, bears, or other normally hostile local wildlife is a common one in legend and fiction, there are very few cases studied by science. Feral children have very poor or no language skills and they have not been socialised by contact with other people. Some feral children were abandoned due to severe intellectual impairment and disability, and others were victims of child abuse and trauma.
In mythology and literature, feral children unrealistically (but more romantically) retain their full human intelligence, and their wild upbringing imbues them with a mixture of animal and human instincts which usually serves them in good stead when dealing with humanity. For more on the subject, see: Feral children in mythology and fiction
See also: Language acquisition