Bear Grylls, in his TV series, has expounded at length on the many tips and tweaks on survival in the wild, be it a jungle, a desert or a remote island. The chances are remote, but a commonplace occurrence such as a trek in the sub-Himalayas or any location can go awry, placing you in a dangerous situation. Survival movies are a source of survival techniques. Blizzards, torrential rains, and avalanches can unsettle the balance drastically.
Here are few life-saving jungle survival tips that will come in handy if you ever end up in a sticky spot.
Tips For Survival In The Jungle
1. Orientation In The Jungle
The key here is the acronym STOP.
- Stay calm and take a rest.
- Think where did you come from and where you might be
- Organize and observe- landmarks, orientation, etc.
- Plan. Don’t just start wandering. Get rid of panic, fear, anger, and negative thoughts
Do you have a map with you? Okay, you don’t. First of all, mark your position; we will call it ‘base.’ Mark it with a cairn of stones or two dead branches in the shape of a cross. Then inspect your immediate surroundings always returning to base. Be very observant.
That you are alone in the wild will sink in and dominate your thinking. Marshall all your energy saying to yourself that you will overcome this. Do not leave the base for two to three days as it is most likely that search parties will be heading for this location. You have to be very careful not to get hurt or immobilized in any way given that no one knows your location, and neither do you. You cannot afford to twist your ankle, get dehydrated, or bitten by a snake. It could make the difference between staying alive and making it to human habitation or perishing.
Read on for tips for surviving in the wilderness.
2. Walk-In One General Direction
The more seasoned trekker is always aware of his position and roughly in which direction lies human settlements. But assume you were involved in a crash. What then. You stay put. You are missing will become apparent to family and friends on the loss of contact, and the launching of a search party set out for you is inevitable. If after a few days, help does not arrive, you will need to move in search of human habitation. Think carefully of the possibilities of which way to head, try recalling which village or dwellings you passed on your way and keep walking in that one general direction only. Stroll and try not to sweat. The jungle is generally a humid place, and your clothes will get wet with sweat. The danger is dehydration. Whenever you come across a clean source, replenish yourself. Whenever you stop for a short break, rest and take off your clothes to dry.
3. Follow Animal Trails
Animal trails will lead you to water. Animal trails also can lead to villages where they forage for food. Follow them if you stumble across one. It will be a more natural path to walk on without overlapping vegetation which will save you from scratches.
4. Establish Your Priorities To Stay Alive
- Keep a strong positive mental attitude
- First aid
5. Finding Water In The Jungle
Generally, the forest has an abundance of waterholes, pools, and even running streams. But drinking straight from them except fresh springs is not advised except in an emergency. You can safely collect morning dew from leaves, or try and find a broad leaf or several, sew them together using small lengths of fine twigs, use it as a funnel to collect dew and drip into your water bottle. It is potable water. You can find dew also as little pools lodged in the crooks of boughs. Dew collects in bamboo. Grab it, tilt it towards you, and drink that up straight. To boil water, you will need to start a fire and assuming you don’t have either matches or a lighter you’ll have to make your fire using two sticks and wood fluff. Make a small indentation at one end of the stick. Using the other rod, place it in the indentation and rub it in semicircular motions with your palms as rapidly as you can. It creates friction, and thereby heat, to set ablaze the wood shavings. Luckily it rains often in the desert.
6. Building A Shelter in the Jungle
Any jungle survival guide will tell you that building a shelter is very important. It will keep you dry when it rains, which can often be in a jungle, especially in a tropical rainforest. During the daytime, it can get very warm and hot and staying out of the sun to avoid dehydration, sunburn is critical. Infestation in jungles with leeches and mosquitos is only common. A shelter gives you some cover. Build your shelter so you get adequate ventilation. A small gap left open at the rear should do the trick. It’s well worth the effort to dig a snake pit around the shelter, though it will be hard work.
A shelter is a necessity. To stay dry, to keep out of the sun and avoid dehydration and of course to keep warm. Look for fallen branches and use your ingenuity to fabricate a rough shelter. As an on, you may dig a snake pit all around, but that is hard work and will
7. Finding Food In The Jungle
Look around for sources of natural food like coconuts, fruits, etc. Do not eat berries and anything you do not recognize. Don’t waste your time trying to hunt. That is for experienced hunters. Simplest is to dig a hole deep enough, cover it with a large leaf and place some bait at the center of the leaf. You may be successful in trapping small mammals, lizards, and rodents.
There is a Universal Edibility Test for plants. Rub the leaves on your skin and lips to see if it causes any reaction.
8. Fishing In The Jungle
If you locate a nearby stream, catching fish is well worth it. Here’s how from surviving in the wild tips. Fashion a spear by sharpening a stick. It can be used to spear fish. Better than a single spearhead is to make a four-pronged spear. Find a 6-foot length of bamboo, split one end into four, and using a vine or weave them together. Using a knife or a sharp rock, sharpen the tips. Armed with your makeshift spear, wade midstream, try to stay motionless until the fish take your presence as natural and then make your move at jabbing one. Cook your fish by wrapping it in a leaf, tying it up, and placing it on the fire.
9. Watch For Predators
Always be on the lookout for predators such as large cats; leopards, panthers, etc. Unusual droppings, pug marks can reveal their presence in the neighborhood. Keep yourself armed with a sturdy spear, the head fashioned from a sharp rock. In the case of a sighting, back away slowly. Confrontation is to be avoided at any cost. Snakes are another menace. Dig a snake pit around your shelter and at night always keep a fire running. Predators shy away from fire.
10. What Are The Main Dangers In The Jungle
- Poisonous plants- Plants, edible ones afford nutrition, but many have toxic effects and can make you seriously ill. Stay away from plants with leaves in groups of three, with shiny leaves and umbrella-shaped flowers.
- Succulent berries- Looks can be deceiving. Do not ingest any berry or fruit you do not recognize. Especially avoid white and yellow colored berries.
- Reptiles, insects, red ants, spiders; anything that crawls, flies are a danger. A rule-of-the-thumb is anything brightly colored is most likely to be venomous.
- Water-related illness- Staying wet, especially wet feet, causes immersion foot or trench foot. Once infection sets in, the only amputation is the answer.
- Mosquito bites cause malaria and dengue. Stay fully clothed and if you are lucky to find a neem try, mash the leaves and coat your body from head to foot. It helps ward off mosquitos.
- Waterborne illnesses. Unless it is a clear stream, do not drink from stagnant pools, rivers, etc. without boiling the water for at least 10 minutes.
- Avoid mushrooms. Many are edible, but equally, many are toxic and deadly.
- Avoid anything with an almond smell.
The chances of your getting lost in a jungle are slender. In such a situation, to beat the odds, you need to be positive and pull out all reserves of physical and mental strength with a firm belief that you can extricate yourself from the situation. Clearing your mind of fear and thinking logically greatly boost your chances of rescue. Do tasks that will require expending energy in the cooler hours, just after daybreak or before sundown. Keep a pile of wood ready to be lit, in case you hear or see airplanes or helicopters scanning from the air. If you are the victim of a crash, your best bet is to stay put as search parties will be looking for you and the wreckage is the best marker for them to zero in on your location.