Isolated children who lived in the wild on their own
Occasionally, children have survived on their on in the wild. In fact, it's quite common, but for many children, the period is very short — weeks, hours or even days. In this list are children who have somehow survived for much longer intervals.
Victor, the Wild Boy of Aveyron
The most famous case of an isolated child is Victor, the Wild Boy of Aveyron, who was first sighted in France at the end of the 18th century. Wild Peter and Memmie LeBlanc are also extremely well known.
How long did they spend alone?
We know that Victor lived in the wild for a long time, as there are several sightings of him years apart. Wild Peter probably lived in the wild for less than a year; and of Memmie LeBlanc, we know next to nothing; except that originally, she had a mystery companion.
How did they survive?
Dietary habits set isolated children entirely apart from those raised by animals. If they have to survive on their own, they generally have an entirely vegetarian diet — eating roots, leaves, berries, fruit and so on — although Memmie LeBlanc ate small frogs and fishes.
Children raised by animals, on the other hand, are used to a diet entirely consisting of raw meat, and are usually unable to eat anything else. Vegetables in particular are not popular.
Some of these children, like Marcos Pantoja, wild child of the Sierra Morena, did receive a certain degree human assistance, however infrequent and unhelpful. Other children may have stolen food from human habitation from time to time.
Some of these children may have lived partly with the protection of animals such as dogs or wolves — although they were by no means raised by them. It's very difficult to establish the authenticity of most of these cases, let alone determine exactly what role animals may have played.
How did they end up in the wild?
There are several common themes. In many cases, the children ended up on their own following an act of violence that ended in the death of one or both parents: war, civil disturbance or even domestic violence. Others escaped from unpleasant step-parents, or were thrown out.
With isolated children there is also always the suspicion that their limited development is not a result of being on their own during formative years, but the reason they were thrown out by their parents in the first place. This uncertaintiy makes it difficult to use feral children as the basis of any attempt to analyse the affect of nature versus nurture.