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10 People Who Raised Beasts as Pets



I like pets as much as the next guy. I have a cat. I’d love to have a little beagle some day. But I don’t think that I could do what any of the 10 people on this list have been able to do. They are living with pets, sure, but their pets are huge!



Janice Haley
She’s nearly sixty, and she is living in a house with two pet tigers in her back yard. That is incredible. Even Jasmine from Disney’s Aladdin only had one tiger. Janice Haley has two.
In 1995 she quit her full time job and got her first tiger. Since then, she has become famous for living with her friendly cats.


Daphne Sheldrick
Daphne Sheldrick dedicated her life to raising baby elephants. She would raise them until they were capable of going into the wild and living the rest of their lives with fellow elephants.
Daphne created the David Sheldrick Wildlife Foundation after her husband died. Over the years she has rescued over 180 orphaned baby elephants. Unfortunately she died in 2018, but because elephants never forget, I’m sure she was happy that she would always be remembered fondly by the baby elephants she saved.



John Rendall and Anthony Bourke
This is one of the most famous stories about two people raising a lion and then letting him go into the wild. It pops up on your Facebook yearly. This is the story of Christian the Lion and his two owners – Rendall and Bourke.
These guys bought the lion when their boss from their department store told them they can get any pet for the store that they want. Naturally, when your boss tells you something like this – you go and get a lion! And they did, in 1969. After the lion was grown, he was reintroduced to the African wilderness by conservationist George Adamson. A year later, when Rendall and Bourke visited him – Christian recognized them! And that video of the lion recognizing them is what pops up on Facebook every once in a while!


Wang Kaiyu
What would you do if you wanted a pet (a dog specifically)? You’d go and you’d buy two puppies. But then, what would you do if those puppies turned out to be bear cubs instead!? Wang Kaiyu had to deal with exactly this problem. He bought two puppies that turned out to be bear cubs. He raised them as dogs for three months before he realized that they were actually bears, after which he called animal services and made sure that the bears were given proper care and reintroduced into the wilderness.


Panteleenko Family
The Panteleeknko family also owns a bear, but with them it’s no accident. One day they just decided, “Hey, why not have a bear as a pet?” And so when a bear cub wandered onto their back yard, they fed it, became friends with it, and have since been living with a bear in their back yard! I mean, talk about being stereotypically Russian! Ha!


Olivier Houalet
Oliver Houalet is a self proclaimed Tarzan (and he has the looks too!). He raises five cheetahs in their natural habitat. As a young man, Oliver studied the body-language and stares of the cheetahs to be able to gain their trust. Soon, he did, and also developed a vital pecking-order, allowing him to bond with the large cads and be, more or less, a part of their family!



Kevin Richardson
Kevin Richardson is a famous lion zookeeper in South Africa. He takes care of more than 15 lions, each of whom recognize him, play with him, and love him. He is Insta-Famous, and if you follow any “cute animal” accounts on Instagram you have definitely come across reposts of Mr. Richardson playing and cuddling with his lions.


Rachel Hogan
Rachel Hogan is a primate conservationist who works in Cameroon. She studies primates, and helps raise orphaned primates until an age when they are ready to join their peers in the wild. If this list has already had a real life Tarzan, then she is this article’s equivalent of Jane Porter.


Antoine Yates
Antoine Yates is a tiger owner. He is a tiger owner from New York. Most of Antoine’s neighbors thought that the tiger was nothing but an urban legend. When they saw Antoine Yates buying 9.1 KG of chicken every day, they just thought he and his mother really loved chicken.
But one day, after Antoine Yates had to go to a doctor because of a very, very large “pitfall bite” on his arm, the police followed him home and arrested him for endangering his neighbors. Later it was found out that his mother baby sat children in the apartment while the tiger was there too!
Always background check your babysitters.



Annel Snyman
Annel Snyman is another South African zookeeper. She works at “Predator Park” and takes care of large felines. As a person who work with lions and tigers, Annel has obviously experienced some injuries. “I do have a few scars and stories to tell. They weren’t from aggression,” she said, “But if a 220kg cat jumps on top of you – you do get your nose broken.”