Hmm. When I was a kid on the farm, I had a number of semi-tame wild critters as pets. One squirrel, maybe a half-dozen raccoons, some rabbits we tamed
just by sitting quietly by the edge of the field near the house and tossing gerbil food their way, and a red fox that lived in a dog house I put
behind the barn. She'd let me sit near and be *just* out of reach. I was never able to pat her, but she'd come up and greet me at a distance. Also a
family of skunks we were neighbors with that lived on the hillside. We'd put out cat food for them in the winter.
My 'coons were very friendly for a year or two, and then would invariably start to become semi-feral. They'd come around and say 'hi' from time to
time, at least to me, and I could still handle them although they wouldn't allow it from the family at that point, where they did before. Of course, I
never caged them and they lived semi-wild, free to come and go as they liked.
Oddly, my Mom seemed to have solved it, she had a cat that adopted some baby 'coons. They thought they were cats, as far as I can tell. Two sows are
still hanging around, eating tuna and cuddling up to you like they were cats, about four years later. Cat adoption seems to be the only long-term
'coon taming solution.
What surprised me was that the rabbits were so easy to tame. At first, they'd be eating clover and whatnot in the yard, and watch you as you walked
by, if you didn't look at them or walk toward them, they'd ignore you warily. So I started putting out apple chips closer and closer to the house,
then little piles of gerbil food, then I'd sit near the pile, then started tossing it to them. After a couple of months, they'd come up to me and let
me touch them.
I've also been able to walk up on wild deer, to touching distance. I'm not sure what that's about. I could do it more as a kid, two or three times I'd
just sit in the woods and deer would walk up to me and sniff, literally nose-bumping me to get a good snort. Then they'd run off.
As an adult, maybe a half-dozen times I've had deer either run up to me within a foot or two, or let me walk up to them. I've considered whupping out
a knife and gaining the admiration of my peers (I stobbed it with a knife-hand to hoof!) but I just couldn't do it. It seemed like cheating. Plus I'm
not really sure what's going on with that. It's sort of creepy.
edit to add: plus all the normal farm animals - the rooster was a pet, and the milk goats. Dad raised a number of calves on bottle feed and then
couldn't butcher them, there's one old cow from the cow days that still roams around and wants to be petted. Mom had guinea hens that thought she was
their mother at one time, and would follow her around like ducks. I had a couple of horses that were outstanding but are now buried up the hill from
my parent's house.
second edit: it's a cinch to tame a bobcat; if you get them as little kitties and bottle feed them any time at all, you have a house bobby. My parents
refused this one, I gave the kitten to my neighbor who raised it as a housecat, it was a lot of fun. Bobbies are VERY good pets, you don't have half
the issues you do with a squirrel or 'coon. Except the pooping thing. Bobbies won't use a sandbox.
edit on 8-1-2013 by Bedlam because: (no