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If you thought your childhood of wrestling with your brothers and fighting your sisters for bathroom time was savage, you really should meet Tippi Degre.

Tippi was born in Namibia, a country in southern Africa. And she was raised, in part, by wild animals you’ve probably only ever seen in a zoo.

Which means instead of riding a bike, she rode an elephant. One particular elephant named Abu, was a good friend of hers and they played together often.

Instead of ballet class, she learned to hunt with a bow and arrow from the local bushmen. She also made friends with the tribes-children in Namibia—some friendships of which she maintains to this day.

In place of the traditional pet cat, she made friends with meerkats. (She also played with snakes, lizards, large cats, crocodiles, and more!)

And instead of napping with a plush pillow pet, she chose lion cubs.

Tippi was raised this way intentionally by her parents. When she was born, they decided she would not have a traditional childhood, but would be raised in Africa among wild animals.

So for the first 10 years of her life, she spent her days riding elephants and making friends with leopards.

After one of the most unique childhoods she could have imagined, she was taken to…

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