You suddenly find yourself naked and afraid, in the jungle and you need help! The first thing to do is pinch yourself. If you’re not in a dream, we have bad news for you— it won’t be easy. As you’re probably aware, the jungle is one of the harshest and most unforgiving environments in the world with dangers on every corner. Of course, not all jungles are created equally. Trying to survive in the African jungle is much different than the Amazon rainforest. Still, many of the same rules apply. If you use these techniques and a little bit of discernment and wisdom, you might just make it out alive.
If you find yourself naked in the jungle, chances are you’re going to feel the urge to panic. Don’t. You need to calm your nerves and relax. Anxiety and stress uses a lot of energy; energy you need to survive. In the wild, every ounce of energy counts. Don’t waste it.
The jungle is a brutal place and you’ll need shelter to protect against its many extremes. Unfortunately, you don’t want to stay in the jungle forever, right? No, you need to keep moving. At some point, you’ll need to create a “lean-to,” a shelter easily made with long tree branches, twigs, and leaves that can lean against a tall tree.
Once safety is in place, water is your most valuable resource. You need to find a source of water, no matter how disgusting. Depending on what type of jungle you’re in, you’ll need to use various tactics to find the water source. Following other thirsty animals to water sources is a good bet. You can also depend on a mass of insects or a hive of bees to tell you that water is near. If you’re in a wet environment and it rains a lot, then collect the rain from the leaves.
Build a Perimeter
In the jungle, predators are everywhere. If you’re in the African jungle, lions, water buffalo, even elephants could be potential dangers. To keep them out, you need to build fencing, using thorn trees and thorn bushes, around your perimeter, letting them know to stay away. It could take roughly half a day and you want it to be built securely.
Build a Fire
A fire is essential to staying alive in the jungle. It’ll keep you warm at night and keep potential predators away. It also will help you cook your food and boil your water.
There are many ways to filter your water. Unfortunately, you probably won’t have the materials need to make it happen. If you have a water container though and a t-shirt, you can use the t-shirt to keep larger objects of the water, like pebbles, clumps of mud, and small traces of leaves.
Drinking muddy or dirty standing water is too dangerous. You could ingest bacteria or parasites, something that could quickly make things much worse for you. You need to find a way to collect dirty water and boil it over a fire. Boiling water will kill the pathogens.
Once you’re good with your water source, the next steps is finding and gathering food. Try to gather berries, maybe even insects, to eat throughout the day. You need to keep up your energy. If you have time, build a snare or hunting tools, like a wooden spear, and wait for animals to cross your path.
If you’re in the Amazon rainforest, or a wet jungle, many streams and rivers will have fish available for fishing. Build a spear out of bamboo and stand in ankle deep water. Don’t scare the fish away and keep the spear over the surface. Once you see one, try to pin it.
Keep Your Feet Dry
If you’re in a dry African jungle, you won’t have to worry about this as much. However, if you’re in a wet jungle, this becomes more of a problem. If you’re feet are wet for too long, you’ll eventually get trench foot. You could also have foot-related illnesses thanks to parasites. Do whatever it takes to keep your feet dry.
If you’re totally naked in the jungle, it doesn’t take a genius to know eventually you’ll have to find or make clothing. To make clothing, you’ll need to find some source of fiber. Plants, vines, and trees are your best bet. Create cords out of the fiber that’ll make a kind of cloth for your body.
You can’t stay in the jungle forever. It’s highly unlikely you could survive forever there on your own. When you’re on the move and trying to find help, you need to head downhill. When lost and alone in the Amazon rainforest, 17-year-old Julia Kopecke used this technique to find streams of water which eventually led her to civilization.
Leave a Trail
The jungle is a big and confusing labyrinth. The last thing you want is to find out you’ve been walking for hours only to be going in circles. While traversing the wilderness, create a trail using items that won’t be eaten by animals. This will help you know where you’ve been and it might also help others find you later.
Be Wary of Trees
Believe it or not, falling trees kill many people in the jungle. It’s a constant hazard not many think about. Keep your ears open and always get your bearings. The last thing you want is a tree or a large branch to come falling down on you.
Usually, people think of the big, scary predators in the jungle, like lions, panthers, or anacondas. However, small predators like poisonous frogs, scorpions, and mosquitos all pose a threat to you in the jungle. They might even be even more dangerous if you’re not careful.
Understand Basic First Aid
Let’s face it, the jungle is full of hazards and the likelihood that you’ll avoid all of them is next to nil. So, if you sprain your ankle, break an arm, or are bit by a poisonous snake, you need to know how to treat the wound. Studying up on basic first aid is a good idea all around.
Signal for Help
You’ll want to be rescued at some point, but there’s little chance someone’s going to see if you don’t try to stand out. With that in mind, remember “contrast and intelligence” when signaling to someone. You need to find a way to contrast from your surroundings so it looks different. You also need to signal in a way that shows the potential rescuer that you’re signal isn’t happenstance.
Don't Ever Give Up
Things can go from bad to worse very quickly in the jungle. That’s what happened to Yossi Ghinsberg when he went into the heart of the Amazon with his friends. He got separated and lost from them, suffering dehydration, hysteria, bee stings, fire ant bites, and the flesh coming off his feet. He endured it all for 20 days but never gave up hope. He was on the brink of starvation and dehydration when he was miraculously found by his friend. Even in the darkest of times, you never want to give up hope.
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