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Surviving In The Jungle

The dangers that lie beneath the canopy of green trees that make up the jungle are too numerous to count. The environment is infamous for testing the human limits. By sticking to these guidelines, it is possible to survive this harsh environment and get back home safely.

Disclaimer: The survival tips on this website are for informational purposes only. The authors take no responsibility for the reader's individual actions or usage of the information presented on this page.

1. STOP and Think

Use the Boy Scouts mnemonic device of "STOP", which stands for "Stop, Think, Observe, and Plan".
You've just discovered that you are lost in the jungle. You're unsure about whether or not rescue will be arriving. Here is a list of what you should be doing:

1. Find a source of drinking water.
2. Find or build a shelter before nightfall.
3. Fashion a weapon you can use for self defense.
4. Wait to see if rescue arrives.
5. Find a source of food.
6. Travel in one direction during daylight hours.

2. Finding Water

In contrast to the dry climate of the desert, the jungle is an abundant source of water. In many jungles, rainfall is common and can be used as a source of hydration.

Common Sources of Water:

The leaves in the jungle are large and can be used to collect rain water. Just funnel the large leaf into any water storage container and you will have sufficient water for later use.

Look for streams of running water. You will want to boil any water that you collect from streams in order to kill any bacteria. If you don't have a pot to boil water, then consider using a tin/aluminum can.

Bamboo Stalks:
The bamboo collects water during rainfall. Bend the bamboo to allow the water to flow out into a container.

Create a Solar Water Still:
Step 1: Dig a hole into soil.
Step 2: Place a container in the center of the hole.
Step 3: Fill the gaps surrounding the container with anything wet, such as leaves.
Step 4: Place a plastic sheet over the hole and anchor the sheet in place with larger rocks around the edges of the hole.
Step 5: Place one small rock in the center of the plastic, just over the container.
Step 6: Condensation will occur on the underside of the plastic and run down to the center. It will drip into the container filling it with distilled drinking water.

3. Finding Food

Since the jungle is such an abundant resource of plants and animals, the resources for finding food are everywhere. It's just a matter of how to get access to it. Here are some tips for getting food in the jungle.

Hunting/Trapping Animals:
Don't waste your energy and time hunting animals. Conserve your energy for other survival tasks instead.

Your best bet is to trap animals while you are sleeping.
Using a deadfall trap is an effective way to trap animals and you can set up many of them to increase your chances of catching more food.

The 4-Figure Deadfall Trap:
Step 1: Gather 3 branches and a heavy stone.
Step 2: Cut notches in the branches as indicated in the illustration below.
Step 3: Hold up the rock with one hand, while positioning sticks "A" and "C".
Step 4: Once the weight of the rock is resting on "A" and "C", use your free hand to insert and mount the trigger stick "B".
Step 5: Let go and the trap should be balanced and set.
Step 6: When a bird or animal comes along to eat the bait, the trigger stick will trip and the rock will kill with a fatal blow.

Another source of protein in the jungle is fish. An effective way to catch them is through the use of a pronged fishing spear.

4-Pronged Fishing Spear:
Step 1: Get a long bamboo stalk to use as your spear.
Step 2: Use a knife to cut cross hairs into the tip so that the end of the spear separates into 4 individual prongs.
Step 3: Separate the prongs with vine to keep them apart.
Step 4: Stand on a rock overlooking the river or stream.
Step 5: Wait for a fish to come within striking range, then jab at it with the spear to catch it.

Eating Plants:
Among the edible plants in the jungle, the safest to stick to are palms, bamboo, and common fruits.
If you are unsure about whether a plant is poisonous or not, it's probably better to not eat it.

4. Build a Shelter

In any jungle survival scenario, the shelter plays an important role in protection against the elements. It will be one of the top priorities on your list of survival actions.

Creating a "Lean-To" shelter:
Step 1: Find a large branch and lean one end up onto a tree.
Step 2: Place smaller branches at 45 degree angles along the length of the large branch.
Step 3: Cover the entire structure with leaves and foliage.

5. Traveling/Resting:

Travel during the day, while sleeping at night.

The jungle presents the obstacle of numerous plants and trees blocking your path. A walking stick to use for parting any vegetation that gets in your way is a good tool to have. The walking stick can also help you get out of sticky situations, such as quicksand.

Walk In One General Direction:
Focus on a reference point in the distance to aim for and another reference point behind you to walk away from. This will help you from walking in circles.

As you make your way through the jungle, look for trails left by animals. If they are heading in the same direction that you are going, then follow them. They may lead to water sources or open areas of the jungle that will help you increase your chances of being seen by rescue parties.

6. Predators

Depending on the jungle location, there are many predatory animals, so stay alert. Move through the jungle smoothly and avoid making a lot of noise. Your best option of self defense is to find a strong stick and carve the tip into a spear.

While traveling, be cautious to the presence of snakes.

Mosquitos & Dangerous Insects:
Mosquitos in the jungle are known for spreading disease. Some of which are Malaria, Dengue, and Yellow Fever.

If you do not have repellent:

  • Wear long sleeve shirts and pants.
  • Rub mud on any exposed skin to avoid bites.
  • Tie a shirt over your head and let it cascade down over your shoulders.
  • Check your clothing and shoes before putting them on for spiders and other insects.

    There are many dangerous parasites in the jungle. Do not cross rivers more than knee deep unless absolutely necessary.
  • 7. Getting Rescued

    It's difficult to rely on rescue when you are in the jungle due to the natural canopy of trees covering the ground surface below.
    If you are stuck in the jungle due to a plane crash, then stay at the site of the plane to see if rescue arrives.
    When you are fairly certain that nobody is coming to your rescue, only then should you follow the traveling tips described in this guide.

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