10 PEOPLE WITH INCREDIBLY CRAZY PETS –
Yes, we know you love your dog and think he’s just the best, but let’s face it. Lots of people have dogs. If you really want to get props for your choice of domesticated animal, you’re going to have to think outside the box a bit. In this story, we’ll travel the world to bring you some amazing examples of people who managed to tame some of the wildest creatures in the world and transform them into truly crazy pets.
Plenty of people in Florida have dreams of keeping an alligator as a pet, but there’s only one Rambo. The 15-year-old gator has been living with Mary Thorn for the last seven years, and she’s spent that time teaching the massive predatory lizard a bunch of tricks. He’s famous in the local community for the outfits that Thorn dresses him up in, but don’t think she’s just goofing around — the alligator’s skin is very sensitive to light, so when she dresses him up like a police officer it’s actually for medical reasons. Rambo also loves to ride around on an ATV, because why not?
A Pack Of Wolves
With the popularity of “Game of Thrones,” there’s been a renewed wave of interest in wolves as pets. It’s not a good idea — even though they look like big dogs, wolves are supposedly impossible to fully domesticate, and if they turn on you they can cause some serious damage. Don’t tell the Selekh family that, though. Living in the frosty Russian village of Zacherevye, Oleg Selekh found four orphaned wolf cubs in the forest and brought them home. Now grown to full size, the quartet have blended into the pack famously, romping with Oleg’s 10-year-old daughter.
Biologically, bears are pretty closely related to dogs, just a hell of a lot bigger and without the desire to please you. That didn’t stop Russian couple Svetlana and Yuriy Panteleenko from taking in a baby brown bear named Stepan 23 years ago. The cub had been found by hunters, its mother killed, and it was unlikely to survive in the wild. The Panteleenkos, animal trainers by trade, raised the baby bear as if it were their own and managed to domesticate it to an insane degree of gentleness. Having a bear for a pet isn’t all fun and games, though — Stepan eats 55 pounds of fish a day, plus eggs and vegetables.
Did you know that the American bison is our official national animal? That said, these massive ungulates don’t make the best household pets. That is, unless you’re R.C. Bridges. The Texas man shares his home not only with his wife Sharon but with a pair of bison — 2,400 pound Wildthing and comparatively tiny Bullet, who weighs in at just 900 pounds. Bridges, known in the trade as “the bison whisperer,” lets the two humungous herbivores roam freely through the house, where they have their own room. Astonishingly, the animals are housebroken, which is probably a relief to Sharon.
One of the most reviled members of the animal kingdom, the hyena gets cast as the villain more often than not. But even a slavering carrion-eater can be domesticated with enough love. Just ask Shandor Larenty. This South African teen, the son of a lion wrangler, took a liking to a hyena that was rejected by its mother and raised it himself. Now named Thender, the massive 200-pound beast follows Larenty everywhere, even gently taking food out of his mouth. Larenty’s wild animal skills don’t end there, though — he’s currently working on training cheetahs.
Sure, plenty of people have pythons as pets — but they’re kept in cages and tanks where they can’t get up to mischief. Let’s take a quick trip to Cambodia to meet a family that’s a little more relaxed with their snake. Farmer Khuorn Sam Ol’s young son Uorn Sambath has a special relationship with a massive python named Chamroeun. The snake slithered into the house as a baby when Uorn was just three months old, and the pair have been inseperable ever since. They slept in the same crib, and now that Uorn is older he naps in Chamroeun’s coils, to the shock of tourists. Local villagers believe that the boy and the snake were husband and wife in a past life.
A Polar Bear
Widely regarded as the most dangerous species of bear, polar bears are nothing to mess around with. The massive mammals can kill a human with one swipe of their paws and break bones to powder with insanely strong jaws. But if you’re Canadian bear aficionado Mark Dumas, you share your bed with one and even go swimming in the pool with it. Agee, Mark’s pet polar bear, was raised from a cub with Dumas and the pair have an intense bond, playfully wrestling and taking naps together. Be warned, though – just because she’s friendly with Dumas doesn’t mean she’s housetrained — any other human who stepped into her enclosure would probably get his ass kicked.
You wouldn’t think that the king of beasts would adapt well to life as a domesticated animal, but don’t tell Timba that. The South African white lion was adopted by Annel Snyman as a tiny baby, and she raised it to get along with her family dog. He’s not the first wild animal that she’s taken care of, but unlike the others he decided to stick around and become part of the family. Now Timba, who eats nine pounds of meat a day, can often be found cuddling up on the couch with Snyman at the end of a long day of romping in the yard. He used to sleep in the bed with her but Timba’s too big to fit in the bedroom, having grown to his full adult weight of 265 pounds.
Revered as a trickster god by many Native American tribes, coyotes, like wolves, aren’t known for their domesticability. Don’t tell that to the Hanestad family of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, who count Wiley the coyote as a pet. They took the animal in when it was just a pup and it bonded with young Hailey Hanestad. The coyote relaxes on her bed when she does her homework and the duo spend time in the evening howling at the moon together. Wiley is one of the only coyotes to ever be domesticated (there’s only one other report of it happening ever), but he seems to have adapted to house life fairly well. He plays fetch, walks on a leash and even gets along with ordinary dogs.
As anybody who’s ever owned a house cat knows, you don’t want to have just one. Solo cats get weird and lonely. Apparently that extends to larger members of the feline family as well. Just ask Brazilian Aryas Borges, who shares his house with a whopping seven tigers. Borges started out by adopting a pair of the animals from a sanctuary and, as has happened with pet owners since the dawn of time, was surprised when the female got pregnant. Since he raised them from birth, the brood of big cats are incredibly tame. One of the young tigers lets Borges’s two year old granddaughter ride around on its back. Borges also has two lions and a chihuahua, but we’re running out of room here.
10 PEOPLE WITH INCREDIBLY CRAZY PETS