Rainforest Survival Guide
• The very first priority for any survivor in the Rain Forest is to find water that
is fit to be drunk. It is very easy to find water in the Rain Forest, but one has
to take safety measures in order not to drink contaminated water, because
that could easily cause, not only, later health problems but, very possibly,
acute and immediate problems for your health..
• Muddy water from a swamp can be made drinkable, even if smelling bad, if
boiled for at least three minutes and then let to settle for at least 12 hours and
then sifted through a piece of cloth before drinking.
• A simple test to determine whether water is contaminated is to pour some
very fine sand on top of the surface of still water in a bowl. If the sand floats,
the water is contaminated, since it is then denser, but if it falls quickly to the
bottom, it means that the water is reasonably clean.
If the sand floats If the sand sinks
Very contaminated Less contaminated
• You can find safe drinking water in the nuts and shells of certain types of
palm trees and you can also drink the dew that accumulates on the leaves of
trees or inside some of the lianas that hang from trees and that are at least of
a thickness of 3 to 5 centimeters. Cut them into lengths of approximately a
meter and a half, keeping both ends facing up, and when you lower one end,
you will find a trickle of water, which, although it may be bitter in taste, is ok
to drink. The best way to go about it is to fill a bowl or bottle with the water
and then drink from there instead of drinking it directly from the liana,
because of the possibility of insects falling into your mouth.
Survival planning is nothing more than realizing something could happen that
would put you in a survival situation and, with that in mind, taking steps to increase
your chances of survival. Thus, survival planning means preparation.
Preparation means having survival items and knowing how to use them People
who live in snow regions prepare their vehicles for poor road conditions. They put
snow tires on their vehicles, add extra weight in the back for traction, and they carry
a shovel, salt, and a blanket. Another example of preparation is finding the
emergency exits on an aircraft when you board it for a flight. Preparation could also
mean knowing your intended route of travel and familiarizing yourself with the area.
Finally, emergency planning is essential.
Our survival kit need not be elaborate. You need only functional items that will
meet your needs and a case to hold the items. For the case, you might want to use a
Band-Aid box, a first aid case, an ammunition pouch, or another suitable case. This
case should be >>
Water repellent or waterproof.
Easy to carry or attach to your body.
Suitable to accept different sized components.
In your survival kit, you should have--
First aid items.
Water purification tablets or drops.
Fire starting equipment.
Food procurement items.
Some examples of these items are--
Lighter, metal match, waterproof matches.
Fish and snare line.
Small hand lens.
Oxytetracycline tablets (diarrhea or infection).
Water purification tablets.
Needle and thread.
Include a weapon only if the situation so dictates. Read about and practice the
survival techniques in this manual. Then prepare your survival kit.
There is a lot of food in the Rain Forest, but a survivor must learn to recognize it
and stay away from poisonous plants. If you see monkeys or other animals,
including birds, eating from the fruits of a tree, these are usually, but not always,
good to eat.
However, in the cases of finding something you do not recognize as having eaten
before and when you are not sure if it is safe, it is always better to nibble on a small
piece and after tasting it, wait for approximately an hour to see if it causes any
adverse effects. It is preferable to peel them first and even boil them because they
may contain pathogenic organisms. Do not eat them raw unless you recognize the
fruit from before.
Amongst the best vegetal food in the Rain Forest, we can find:
The so called Wasaí, palmito or Chonta heart of palm. It is a palm tree with a tall
and slender trunk crowned by a bunch of palm fronds, but there are no leaves or
spines on the trunk, which is smooth. Look for a free standing palm tree so that it
will not get tangled in the brush when you cut it down. Cut it at the base using your
machete, cut loose the light green coloured part which you will find approximately
at one meter below from where the leaves start and this part you can eat raw without
cooking. You must be sure that you are treating with a Wasaí palm because it alone
among the different palm trees has a very pleasant taste, the others can be very bitter
and even cause irritations in your throat if you try to eat them.
In a survival situation, you will be extremely fortunate if you happen to have a map
and compass. If you do have these two pieces of equipment, you will most likely be
able to move toward help. If you are not proficient in using a map and compass, you
must take the steps to gain this skill.
• USING THE SUN AND SHADOWS
# Step 1 >> Place the stick or branch into the ground at a level spot where it will
cast a shadow. Mark the shadow's tip with a stone,
twig, or something else. This first shadow mark is always west-everywhere on earth.
# Step 2 >> Wait 10 to 15 minutes until the shadow tip moves a few centimeters.
Mark the shadow tip's new position in the same way as the first.
# Step 3 >> Draw a straight line through the two marks to obtain an approximate
# Step 4 >> Stand with the first mark (west) to your left and the second mark to your
right-you are now facing north. This fact is true everywhere on earth.
USING THE MOON
If the moon rises before the sun has set, the illuminated side will be the west. If the
moon rises after midnight, the illuminated side will be the east. This obvious
discovery provides us with a rough east-west reference during the night.
MAKING IMPROVISED COMPASSES
You can construct improvised compasses using a piece of ferrous metal that can be
needle shaped or a flat double-edged razor blade and a piece of nonmetallic string or
long hair from which to suspend it. You can magnetize or polarize the metal by
slowly stroking it in one direction on a piece of silk or carefully through your hair
using deliberate strokes. You can also polarize metal by stroking it repeatedly at one
end with a magnet. Always rub in one direction only. If you have a battery and some
electric wire, you can polarize the metal electrically. The wire should be insulated.
If not insulated, wrap the metal object in a single, thin strip of paper to prevent
contact. The battery must be a minimum of 2 volts. Form a coil with the electric
wire and touch its ends to the battery's terminals. Repeatedly insert one end of the
metal object in and out of the coil. The needle will become an electromagnet. When
suspended from a piece of nonmetallic string, or floated on a small piece of wood in
water, it will align itself with a north-south line.
How to build shelter
Choose a good location for your shelter. Your location should be on a fringe
area, not too open where it will be exposed to wind and sun, and not too
dense where animals make their homes and feed. Your location should also
be at least 50 yards from water, as bodies of water dampen the air and
increase the chill. Be sure your location is close to debris, but away from
Picture your shelter before you begin to build it. You'll need a large rock, tree
stump or similar object to build your shelter against.
Find a straight and sturdy branch to act as your ridgepole. This branch
should be a few feet taller than you. It will serve a purpose similar to that of
the top horizontal pole in a tent.
Brace your ridgepole firmly against your rock or tree stump and use other
branches or rocks to stabilize it. This is the spine of your hut, so make sure
it's braced firmly. The braced end of the pole should not be much higher
than your crotch. The other end of your ridgepole goes on the ground, held
in place by a couple of heavy rocks.
Use stout sticks leaned against your ridgepole every few inches as ribs. Line
them all the way down, leaving only a small opening on the high end to act
as a doorway. Go inside beneath your stout sticks to make sure there is
enough room for you inside. It should be comfortable, but not too roomy.
Smaller stays warmer.
Pile all manner of fine brush and twigs over the ribs of your structure.
Gather as much debris as you can from the ground and pile it over the twigs
on your structure. Use whatever the surrounding area offers: leaves, pine
needles, dried ferns, grasses, mosses or anything you can gather. Dry
materials insulate better, but use what you have available.
Lean more stout sticks over your debris to hold it in place against the wind.
SHELTER SITE SELECTION
When considering shelter site selection, use the word BLISS as a guide.
B - Blend in with the surroundings.
L - Low silhouette.
I - Irregular shape.
S - Small.
S - Secluded location.
When you consider these requisites, however, you cannot ignore your
tactical situation or your safety. You must also consider whether the site>>
• Provides concealment from enemy observation.
• Has camouflaged escape routes.
• Is suitable for signaling, if necessary.
• Provides protection against wild animals and rocks and dead trees
that might fall.
• Is free from insects, reptiles, and poisonous plants.
You must also remember the problems that could arise in your environment.
For instance >>
• Avoid flash flood areas in foothills.
• Avoid avalanche or rockslide areas in mountainous terrain.
• Avoid sites near bodies of water that are below the high water mark.