Getting lost in the jungle can be pretty scary. I mean, a jungle has all sorts of dangerous wildlife and poisonous plants, plus there are no roads or directions. So, you’re just surrounded by a deep sea of green leaves. That is pretty scary! So, I decided to research expert’s advice on jungle survival and orientation, and here is what I found.
What to do if you get lost in the jungle? Survival experts would advise you to relax, recall your recent moves, and trace back carefully. But there is more to it: You must monitor your basic needs: shelter, warmth, and water. A lot of it boils down to tactical strategy and situational intelligence, so here are the basics.
The first mission is surviving the next three to four hours. The second mission is correctly assessing your way back out of the jungle. The third and final mission is safely making the arduous journey home. The following are some jungle survival tips and tricks that most people overlook.
How to Survive If You Get Lost in The Jungle
You might be just mindlessly walking thought a tropical forest, enjoying the lovely scenery, taking some cool selfies and suddenly, you turn to go back and can’t even tell which direction you came from.
I would be pretty freaked out too, but panic not, this basic jungle guide will inform you about what to do if you get lost in the jungle.
I will be giving you helpful hints on how to survive and get out safely if you ever get lost in the jungle. Here is a self-evident list of actions, that most people overlook because they panic, or forget common sense:
1. Be Calm. We have established that getting lost in a jungle is kind of scary, but the first thing to do is to stay calm. Try not to panic, just sit for a moment and take deep breaths to steady your nerves. I know it’s not easy to not panic, but you have to try your best possible to be calm.
2. Think and Observe. Stop and try to think about the direction you were coming from. Look around and observe your surroundings. By doing this, you might notice a familiar landmark you’ve seen before like a boulder or a type of tree or even a funny shaped stone. It could be anything.
3. Be Patient and Make a Plan. Most of the times, you might realize that you weren’t even lost in the first place, you might have just wandered off a little deeper than you intended. So, it helps to stay patient because that gives you time to collect your thoughts. Acting rashly only gets you in deeper trouble, so don’t haste!
If you’ve confirmed that you’re really lost in the jungle, it helps to make a plan. Draw up a solid plan of action instead of wandering aimlessly. This will help give you direction and a target.
4. Find Shelter. This is very helpful if you get lost at night or when you know you might not be getting help anytime soon. It helps to find shelter so that you won’t be openly exposed to the cold, rain, and predators (of which there are many in a jungle).
It is better to find a natural enclosure or a crevice because building a shelter from scratch can be quite tasking. But if you don’t find one, you can build a simple, basic shelter to just keep the elements and animals away. These primitive shelters can be makeshift and easily collapsible because you don’t plan to stay in them for a long period.
5. Find Water and Food. Water is a necessity and you should always have a readily available source of hydration. If you get lost in a jungle, it helps to find a water source. If you feel skeptical about drinking any water you come across, you can boil it before drinking (if you have the gear to do so). Here are some other cool tricks:
- Gather water from dews and rainfall using leaves for funneling.
- Bamboo stalks also collect water in their trunks. You can safely drink it!
- Build a solar still for collecting groundwater, using condensation.
Search for food after you are sure you have enough water. Hunting for large animals might be exhausting, and without deep knowledge of the jungle and the help of a hunting party, you won’t stand a chance. Focus on looking for fruits or edible plants. If your survival depends on it, you will gladly feast on insect larvae.
Fishing is another good option if you have the skill! Plain, old spear-fishing in shallow water. This means you will start a fire and cook your catch because you cannot eat it raw.
This is a half-decent option: If you want to catch a small animal, you can set a small trap by digging a hole and covering it up with earth or leaves. You will then put bait on top of the leaves and wait for the animal to come and fall into the hole. I had to list that as an option, but I am not fully on board with it: Requires skill and it takes too long. You are lost in the jungle, so speed is essential.
6. Call for Help & Use GPS. We live in modern times now and we have mobile technologies. If you brought your cell phone along, you can call for help or send a message if you have a signal. Most likely you will not, but GPS might work because the satellites array covers the entire earth surface.
GPS can triangulate your position precisely, but if there isn’t enough land-coverage of the signal then it won’t be as accurate!
Also, if you have an emergency whistle, you should blow it at intervals while you move. It may attract someone’s attention. Or a predator’s!
How Do You Get Out of The Jungle?
Now that you know what to do when you get lost in the jungle, the next step is knowing how to get out of the jungle if you’re lost and here are some points you should consider;
- Listen for Human Activity. When you are trying to get out of the jungle, you should be very observant and listen for sounds of human activity or presence. Be watchful when you notice things like food wrappers, cigarette butts, chopped tree stumps and other telltale signs of human presence. You might be close to a shelter or a group of campers so, pay attention.
- Go Downhill. If you get lost in a hill area, it is very advisable to go downhill. People often set up camps and shelters downhill close to water bodies like valleys. So, if you go downhill, there is a chance that you will stumble upon a trail or a river. If you do come across a waterbody, go in the direction in which the water is flowing. Often times, you’re going in the right direction.
- Stick to Open Field. Staying on the open is quite important because if you have called for a rescue team or a search party, it is easier to get spotted you in the open.
- Leave a Trail / Create a Message. If you are certain that a rescue party coming for you, create a message that can be seen from by a passing helicopter or airplane. This can be a smokey fire pit, a big pile of rocks with a colored cloth flag, or anything that is visible and in stark contrast with the ground texture. Even flashing a bright torchlight at the rescue crew. Needless to say, this means you will be sticking around as you wait, otherwise, the sign would be pretty much useless.
What You Need to Survive in A Rain Forest
The rainforest is often wet, sticky and walking around in it is super uncomfortable. Giant trees with elevated roots make the ground uneven and unsafe to walk (especially at night).
There are also snakes, insects, and traps around. And given the harsh conditions of the jungle forest, spraining an ankle is easy, likely, and extremely dangerous. Below are a few quick tips to help you survive in the rain forest:
- Sturdy footwear. I feel this is kind of needless to point out, but don’t go into the wilderness wearing flip-flops, city shoes, or light footwear. Never walk around barefooted. It always helps if you wear waterproof protective shoes. Always ensure that your feet are properly covered, with good ankle protection so that you can safely cover long distances afoot.
- Water bottle. Make sure you have enough water supply; hydration is very important in the forest. Regularly look for a water source to refill your container.
- Leave a trail. Try to always leave a trail for easy traceability and to enable people to find you. A rescue team will likely start searching from your last known location (where you got lost), and a visible trail will lead them to your current whereabouts.
- Basic common sense and topology knowledge. When following a river, always go downhill and if you suddenly notice that the current is stronger, be extra careful because you might stumble into a waterfall.
- Eat regularly and safely. If you’re hungry, eat familiar fruits or nuts to avoid food poisoning or any discomfort. You need all the strength you can get. This means you have to read and learn about the fauna, vegetation, and animals. Don’t go to places you know nothing about, even if it’s a city!
- Cross water with extra care! To cross over a narrow body of water, you can use lianas as ropes. They are quite sturdy and will hold you as you sail through the air to the other side.
These are necessary tips, tricks, and survival gear to take that will guarantee you make your way safely back to civilization if you ever get lost in a jungle (which I hope you don’t.)
What are the dangers of the jungle? Often times, most people think the jungle is so deadly and dangerous and that there are wild animals there ready to devour you at any stage. But albeit this being true, animals are not the biggest danger. Most times, the dangers of the jungle can be other things like poisonous plants, water-related illnesses, allergic reactions, accidents, some unintended self-inflicted injuries, and so many other things. The list is endless but it helps if you prepare thoroughly for your trip.
What is the most dangerous jungle in the world? The most dangerous jungle in the world would be the Darien Gap that is located between Colombia and Panama. It is the most feared jungle in the world and it is filled with deadly wildlife. The Darien Gap is about 60 to 100 miles of harsh wilderness. It is a lawless swampland that has no roads. This jungle boasts of a thick, hot air that makes breathing dangerous and modern gadgets like cellphones and GPS trackers are quite useless in this jungle because there is no radio signal and they just don’t work.
What is the most dangerous animal in the jungle? Small, venomous creatures whose bite is crippling and disabling. They kill more people yearly than the major predators. There are so many dangerous animals but the common ones are Green anacondas, tigers, jaguars, bullet ants, electric eels, black caiman, Brazilian wandering spiders, etc. These are the most dangerous animals you are likely to encounter in a deep jungle. So, saddle up and get ready for your hike.
How do you protect yourself from mosquitoes in the jungle? Mosquito bites are one of the major turnoffs that prevent one from going into the wilderness for a camping trip. The first thing to do is to apply a mosquito repellant spray or cream to any exposed skin. You can wear long-sleeved clothing whenever you’re going to the jungle. You can also take with you an ultrasonic pest repellent which doesn’t only repel mosquitoes, but also ants, spiders, and most creepy crawlies. Also, do not wear dark clothing or heady perfumes.