How to Survive in the Rainforest

Rough it
Rough it (Image: Photo courtesy of

Hopefully, your plane hasn't crash-landed in the Amazon, forcing you to read this article with the dying battery of your laptop. Nevertheless, if it has, you're probably wondering how to survive in a jungle filled with ferns instead of concrete. Finish this article before your battery dies and you'll be just fine.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife or sharp piece of bone
  • Thread or small vines
  • Container for holding water
  • Lighter or piece of flint

Remember the basics. So long as you have food, shelter, water and fire, survival is possible. You can find water in lakes or streams and in the water vine, which holds several gallons. If all else fails, use the large leaves of tropical plants to collect rainwater. Whatever the source, find a way to sterilize the water by boiling it before drinking.

Find something to eat. Use thread or small vines, a long stick, and hooked pieces of bone to construct a fishing pole. If you're not near a lake or stream, fashion a slingshot from a piece of cloth to hunt small game. Other sources of food are roots and berries, but be sure to test for poison by chewing a small mouthful, spitting it out, and waiting five minutes to determine if you feel any burning, tingling, or numbing. If so, try something else. Concerning fish and small animals, always cook them to kill any parasites they may contain.

Build a fire for warmth and cooking. Gather pieces of wood and stack them in the shape of a pyramid by leaning the pieces diagonally against each other. Once the wood is ready, place leaves and dry grass inside the pyramid, which will serve as kindling to start the fire. If you're a smoker, the lighter in your pocket will make starting a blaze much simpler. If not, you'll have to rub sticks together or strike a stone against flint to create a spark.

Construct a shelter that is near water and on high ground. A cave is a great choice because it provides excellent shade and cool temperatures. Another alternative is building a lean-to by weaving native materials such as saplings against a diagonal tree branch touching the ground. If you have a tarp, use it instead of the saplings.

Protect yourself from insects. Bug bites are a nasty nuisance and, in some cases, can lead to infection. To repel them, rub yourself with garlic, a natural defense. Besides smelling like an Italian restaurant, you'll scatter mosquitoes and other fanged pests.

Wait for rescue and signal search teams by signing SOS with reflective objects, such as your powerless laptop. Near the crash site, arrange debris so that a search party can see your message from the air.

Tips & Warnings

  • Staying alive in a crisis requires that you remain calm and use your head. Regardless of how bleak the situation may seem, there is usually a way to gather necessary resources and survive. Keep your cool and think your way to safety.

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