Ever since TV shows like Survivor Man and Man vs Wild took to the airwaves there has been a surge of interest in wilderness survival. Although most of us will never find ourselves in such situations, it doesn’t stop people from dreaming. Who wouldn’t want to go on an expedition through the jungle and live to talk about it? And then there’s the conspiracy theorists who think that the nuclear holocaust is going to happen at any moment and they need to stock up on toilet paper. Whatever your position, survival is built into our genes and we will try to do it at any cost. Surely your body is capable of far more than you think, just take a look at these 25 unbelievable facts about the human body. In all likelihood you could go for weeks without food or sleep. You could break numerous bones, lose a limb, and still keep on moving. What you’ll realize after reading through this list is that survival isn’t just about what you know, because much of what you know might be wrong. It’s more about your will to live and pure old fashioned common sense. So whether you are a survivalist or just a dreamer, these are 25 survival myths that could actually hurt you.
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Knowing the truth behind these survival myths could save your life:
You need to find food right away – Your body can actually survive for weeks on your body’s fat reserves. By that point in time you are likely to die of numerous other causes including injury, exposure, poisoning, or illness. In fact, people usually do not die of starvation in survival situations.
All you need to start a fire is 2 sticks – Starting fire this way is incredibly hard, even under the best of conditions. Your best bet is to pack stormproof matches from the get go.
Watching survival shows will prepare you for survival – Those shows are fun to watch, but heavily scripted. While you may be able to take away some general tips, don’t get lulled into a false sense of security just because you’ve watched every episode of Man vs Wild.
You should suck the venom out of a snake bite – Clinical field trials done at the University of Arizona have shown that more damage is done to the surrounding tissues if you apply suction devices. Furthermore ice, tourniquets, and compression wraps all do more harm than good. Your best best? Wash the wound site, cover it with a bandage, and try to get to the hospital as fast as possible.
Remember: a dead rattlesnake can still bite you! The bite reflex sticks around for a few hours after death.
You can outrun a bear – No you can’t. Not even Usain Bolt can run fast enough. There is no conceivable situation in which you should try to outrun a bear.
You should play dead if you meet a bear – So if you shouldn’t run you should just play dead right? Well, it depends on the bear. If it is a grizzly then your best bet is to stand your ground (even if it charges you) and when it makes contact drop down, cover your vital organs, and play dead. If it is a black bear, this won’t work. You need to make yourself seem big and threatening by opening your jacket, screaming, and stomping. Either way, don’t make eye contact and try to carry bear spray.
The best way to stop a shark attack is to punch it in the nose – While this would work, you are underestimating how hard it would be to hit the nose, especially underwater while you are being attacked. More than likely you will end up sticking your hand in its mouth. Instead, try going for the gills or the eyes. They are easier targets.
Decisions by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (