Tame animal

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"Taming" redirects here. For other uses, see Taming (disambiguation).
In public parks, some wild animals have been sufficiently tamed so as to lose their natural fear of humans.
A tame mouse runs across a woman's hand.

A tame animal is an animal that is relatively tolerant of human presence. Tameness is the quality of an animal being welcoming towards the presence of humans, either naturally (as in the case, for example, of island tameness) or due to human intervention (as the result of animal training).

Taming is the deliberate, human-directed process of training an animal against its initially wild or natural instincts to avoid (or attack) humans, so that it instead learns to become tolerant of humans. The tameability of an animal is the level of ease it takes humans to train the animal. Tameability may vary among individual animals, breeds, or species.[1]

In other languages, such as Spanish, the word for taming is the same as the word for domestication. However, in the English language, the two words refer to two partially overlapping but distinct concepts.[2] For example feral animals are domesticated, but not tamed. Similarly, taming is not the same as animal training, although in some contexts these terms may be used interchangeably.

"Taming" is also distinct from the use of "habituation" in the field of wildlife biology, as in discussions of how habituation makes bears and other large animals more dangerous.[3]

Taming implies that the animal tolerates not merely human proximity, but at minimum human touching.[4] Yet, more common usage limits the label "tame" to animals that subordinate themselves to humans sufficiently that they do not threaten, much less injure, humans who do not harm them or their companions (e.g., offspring or siblings), or at least who threaten to do so. Tameness, in this sense, should be distinguished from "socialization" wherein the animals treat humans much like conspecifics, for instance by trying to dominate humans.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Principles and applications of domestic animal behavior: an introductory text - Edward O. Price - Google Books". Books.google.com. Retrieved 2013-04-25. 
  2. ^ "Domestication: the decline of environmental appreciation - Google Books". Books.google.com. Retrieved 2013-04-25. 
  3. ^ See, e.g., Herrero et al. 2005, Smith et al. 2005, Geist 2011a,b, Stringham 2010, 2011, Rogers & Mansfield 2011
  4. ^ See, e.g., Geist 2011a,b.
  5. ^ For examples with mountain sheep Ovis spp., see Geist 2011a,b.
  • Geist, V. 2011a. Wildlife habituation: advances in understanding and management application. Human–Wildlife Interactions. 5:9–12.
  • Geist, V. 2011b. Response to Rogers and Mansfield (2011) and Stringham (2011). Human–Wildlife Interactions 5(2):192–196.
  • Herrero, S., T. Smith, T. DeBruyn, K. Gunther & C. Matt. 2005. From the field: Brown bear habituation to people – safety, risks, and benefits. Wildlife Society Bulletin 33(1):362-373.
  • Rogers, L. L. & S. A. Mansfield. 2011. Misconceptions about black bears: a response to Geist (2011). Human–Wildlife Interactions 5(2):173–176.
  • Smith, T., S. Herrero, & T. DeBruyn et al. 2005. Alaskan brown bears, humans, and habituation. Ursus 16(1):1-10.
  • Stringham, S. F. 2010. When Bears Whisper, Do You Listen? WildWatch, Soldotna, AK.
  • Stringham, S. F 2011. Aggressive body language of bears and wildlife viewing: a response to Geist (2011). Human-wildlife Interactions 5(2):177-191.