25 Survival Myths That Could Actually Hurt You

Ever since TV shows like Survivor Man and Man vs Wild took to the airwaves there has been a surge of interest in wilderness survival. Although most of us will never find ourselves in such situations, it doesn’t stop people from dreaming. Who wouldn’t want to go on an expedition through the jungle and live to talk about it? And then there’s the conspiracy theorists who think that the nuclear holocaust is going to happen at any moment and they need to stock up on toilet paper. Whatever your position, survival is built into our genes and we will try to do it at any cost. Surely your body is capable of far more than you think, just take a look at these 25 unbelievable facts about the human body. In all likelihood you could go for weeks without food or sleep. You could break numerous bones, lose a limb, and still keep on moving. What you’ll realize after reading through this list is that survival isn’t just about what you know, because much of what you know might be wrong. It’s more about your will to live and pure old fashioned common sense. So whether you are a survivalist or just a dreamer, these are 25 survival myths that could actually hurt you.

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Featured image by Lwp Kommunikáció via Flickr


You should play dead if you meet a bear

You should play dead if you meet a bearSource: reddit, Image: wikipedia

So if you shouldn’t run you should just play dead right? Well, it depends on the bear. If it is a grizzly then your best bet is to stand your ground (even if it charges you) and when it makes contact drop down, cover your vital organs, and play dead. If it is a black bear, this won’t work. You need to make yourself seem big and threatening by opening your jacket, screaming, and stomping. Either way, don’t make eye contact and try to carry bear spray.


The best way to stop a shark attack is to punch it in the nose

The best way to stop a shark attack is to punch it in the noseSource: reddit, Image: wikipedia

While this would work, you are underestimating how hard it would be to hit the nose, especially underwater while you are being attacked. More than likely you will end up sticking your hand in its mouth. Instead, try going for the gills or the eyes. They are easier targets.


You need to find water in the desert right away

You need to find water in the desert right awaySource: reddit, Image: wikipedia

It’s better to sit in the shade and try not to sweat much during the day. If you want to move around, it’s better to do it during the night when it is cooler. Some people have died of thirst after only 4 hours of taxing their body to find water, while others have survived 2 days by conserving what they already have.


You should drink your urine to quench your thirst

You should drink your urine to quench your thirstSource: reddit

While you can drink your urine at least once with no significant consequences, it will tax your body and potentially cause it to overheat a bit more. It’s a tradeoff that you’ll have to decide on. A potentially better use of your urine (with no side effects) would be to use it on a bandana to cool off.


You can drink from a cactus

You can drink from a cactusSource: reddit, Image: wikipedia

Chances are that you’ll just make yourself sick. Similar to urine, your body has to work extra hard to process out all of the poisons which can potentially push you closer to heat stroke. There is, however, one cactus you can drink from – the barrel cactus. Well, only one of the five types – the fishhook barrel. So, as you can see, unless you are a cactus expert your chances of being poisoned are pretty high.

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