Moss On Tree Trunk

7 SURVIVAL MYTHS THAT COULD KILL YOU

Myths and falsehoods are damaging wherever they occur but in a survival scenario, the stakes are higher. Survival myths and wives tales that aren’t true can kill if they are applied in life or death situations. This is why I have set out to debunk commonly believed survival myths that take lives instead of saving lives.

SUCKING OUT SNAKE VENOM

The idea of sucking out snake venom may sound like a great idea but depending on the snake, putting snake venom in your mouth might kill you faster and make things worse. Instead, keep the wound clean and lower the limb to keep it below your heart and slow the spread of the venom until medical assistance arrives.

DRINKING ALCOHOL WILL WARM YOU

If you are in a situation where you could be affected by hypothermia, drinking alcohol is the last thing you want to do. The alcohol will dilute your blood vessels and capillaries and actually results in chilling your body faster.

PUNCH A SHARK ON THE NOSE

Sharks don’t know Queensbury rules and will fight dirty. Rather than punching it on the nose, go for its eyes and gills. This will put it off investigating you any further and will give you some time to get to shore.

MOSS ALWAYS GROWS ON THE NORTH-FACING SIDE OF A TREE

Actually, moss grows anywhere that is cool and damp. While the north sides of trees usually receive less sunlight in the northern hemisphere and the south side in the southern hemisphere, in a wooded area, where shade can be found from other trees, moss can grow on any side of a tree which sits out of direct sunlight, not necessarily the north side or the south side.

EAT SNOW FOR QUICK HYDRATION

This is fine if you are warm and not in danger of hypothermia. But chances are, if you are in the mountains you will be battling the cold too and eating snow is a quick way to lower your body’s core temperature. Instead of eating the snow, find a way to melt it before you drink it to preserve your body’s warmth while you rehydrate.

YOU CAN EAT ANIMAL MEAT RAW

It might be okay once or twice but exposing yourself to raw animal meat regularly is not a good idea. It contains harmful pathogens that can give you diseases and illnesses. If you can find a way to cook it or smoke it, this will be much safer than eating the meat raw.

FOLLOW BIRDS TO FIND A WATER SOURCE

Unless you have a good knowledge of ornithology, following birds could put you in more peril. Some birds will roam long distances to find food and following them is no guarantee of finding a reliable water source. I wouldn’t rely on birds for anything.

Don’t let your survival strategy become undone by some well-propagated survival myths. If you find yourself in a survival situation, you will need to rely on every scrap of knowledge you possess to get you out of trouble. Arming yourself with reliable and verified information could mean the difference between making it back to civilisation and leaving wild dingoes with a tasty meal.


 

Do you have any other survival myths that need debunking? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Oli Ward
oli@dinga.com.au

Oli has camped and hiked his way around Australia and most of Europe. He also loves writing about his experiences and sharing his knowledge.