There is a lot of information that has been perpetuated through old wives’ tales, survival media, and people who just do not know what they are doing. Here is my list of 17 more survival myths that need to be forgotten or require critical thinking skills.
1. Sucking On A Snake Bite
This one has been around for a long time and fortunately, it has begun to go away. Sucking on a snake bite will do nothing to help the victim but it can transfer bacteria from the mouth into the wound causing further problems.
Additionally, you run the risk of ingesting venom that may be on or around the wound. The best thing that can be done is to slow the victim’s heart rate by calming them down, lower the wound site below heart level, and get them to a hospital as fast as possible.
2. Eating Raw Meat is Okay
In reality, most raw fish and animal meat have bacteria and pathogens that can be harmful to humans. Other than flavor, the primary reason for cooking meat is to kill off any nasty bits hiding in the meat.
But what about sushi someone always asks. There are a few species of fish that can be eaten raw because the bacteria that reside in them can’t easily live in the human body. It is better to error on the side of safety and always cook meat.
3. Consuming What Animals Consume
This may seem like a good idea to eat what other animals are eating but you would be wrong. Yes, there are many items that humans eat that animals can eat but the reverse is not always true. Birds for example eat many kinds of berries that you would do well to avoid.
Some animals will snack on mushrooms that can be very poisonous to us. Animals are accustomed to eating what is in their environment, we are not. When in doubt, do not eat it!
4. Drinking From the Same Water Source as Animals
This goes right along with the above section. In no way is a water source safe to drink because you see a deer or any other animal drinking from it. Collect it, filter it, boil it, purify it, then drink it!
5. A Lean-to is the Best Shelter!
Okay, sorry lean-to but you are not the best shelter out there nor are you necessarily the worst. You are however the simplest to construct. What makes a shelter good depends on the environment that you are in and what you need to be protected from.
A lean-to is good at providing shade from the Sun and a slight windbreak from one direction, but not much else. But if that is all that you need then you are good to go!
6. Treat Hypothermia With Hot Water Immersion.
This is a very bad idea. A hypothermic victim who is placed into a hot shower or tub can go into shock. This method can even induce a heart attack. Anyone who is showing signs of hypothermia needs to be warmed up slowly. This can be done by wrapping them in blankets, placing warm water bottles under their armpits, or through skin to skin contact.
7. GPS is Failsafe
All technology can fail. If it requires a power source, an internet, or satellite connection, it can fail. Don’t get me wrong, if you are going on an outdoor excursion, by all means, take a GPS device because they are simple, accurate, and easy to use.
But what happens if the battery dies, it breaks or it loses its connection? Always bring a map and a compass and know how to use both.
8. A Fire is Better Than Shelter
This one may ruffle some feathers. Ultimately what is needed is insulation. Creating insulation between you and the ground and the surrounding area is what is best. A fire without shelter can be put out by wind, rain, or snow. A shelter without fire is prone to leaking water and wind while you lay on an uninsulated ground. Insulation first then take care of the rest.
9. Sucking On A Button
This piece of advice always perplexed me. The idea is that in situations where water is not available a person sucks on a button or a rock. This induces an individual to salivate which they can then swallow.
This only helps to overcome a mental barrier as sucking on a button does not provide any water whatsoever. Plus you run the risk of swallowing and possibly choking on the button. If I were you I would put this button in the drawer.
10. Play Dead With a Bear
I can not see myself doing this with any predatory animal. But, generally speaking, this depends on the bear’s reaction to the situation. Meaning you need to determine if the bear is actively attacking you or acting out defensively.
If they are acting out defensively there will be moments where the bear stops going for you and will even retreat a bit. In this case make yourself look larger than you are, make sounds, slowly back away, and avoid eye contact.
If they are continuously attacking your best bet may be to fight back by attacking soft spots like the eyes, nose, ears.
11. You Don’t Need Survival Gear
I have heard this all too often. I am only driving ten miles down the road, I am only going on a day hike, therefore I do not need any gear. Wrong. Bad things can happen and they can happen very fast without warning.
It does not matter where you are going, how short of a timeframe you think you will be gone, or how close to safety you think you are. Always take gear with you that will help when an emergency happens.
12. All Clothing is Equal
13. You Can Be Rescued at a Moments Notice
We have movies and television shows to thank for this one. Just because you have a phone, radio, emergency beacon, etc does not mean you are going to be rescued at your convenience.
Here how this plays out. You make the call. The call is then transferred to emergency personnel. Depending on the circumstances you may not be given priority status (meaning you are lower on the list) Once it is your turn emergency personnel make their way to your location, usually by helicopter.
As versatile as helicopters are, guess what, there are some locations they cannot land. So then a secondary site has to be found where they can make their way to you on foot or alternative mode of transportation has to be arranged to get to, such as a boat, truck, water plane, or physically walking to your location. That all takes time just to get you, then you have to get out.
All of this takes time, so realize that you will not always be rescued at a moment’s notice.
14. Hunting Large Game Will Cure Starvation
When you are hungry it sounds great to hunt a large animal to cure hunger pains. But take a moment to consider this. Large animals require more energy to hunt in terms of taking them down, processing them, transporting them, and preserving them. But primarily they pose a direct threat to your safety. When confronting a large animal, whether or not it is hurt, is a dangerous proposition.
15. Boiling Water is the End All Be All
There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to making potable water. Sediments, biological threats, and chemical threats.
Boiling water helps to neutralize biological threats and even then that is not always one hundred percent effective. Boiling does nothing to remove sediments or most chemical threats.
For example, water that is heavy with sediments such as soil may be biologically safe. But consuming excess sediments can cause vomiting. Collect, filter, boil, and purify.
16. You Can Survive Because You Watched A Survival Show
Thanks to the popularity of movies, television shows, and online videos, many people think they can handle survival situations because they viewed these programs. While there is a golden nugget of information in some of these programs what you need to understand is these shows are shows.
They are entertainment survival. Meaning that they are heavily scripted, the host is followed by a safety crew and a staff with lots of supplies. If you want to learn about survival situations, look to history, and learn how people lived every day in what we now call survival skills.
17. Survival Situations Just Happen
Very quickly, yes survival situations can happen all of a sudden. You are traveling on a plane that crashes, or on a cruise ship that suffers a catastrophic failure. But by in large, most survival situations are not thrust upon us. They are a result of people not paying attention and being prepared.
They are a series of mistakes that people ignore. People like to think that they are the masters of this universe but that just isn’t the case. Make proper plans, carry the correct gear, know your skills, have the physical abilities to be in the outdoors, and pay attention to what you are doing. If you follow these simple recommendations it will be highly unlikely that you will put yourself in a survival situation.
Check out this video for more myths:
Did I miss any? Are there more survival myths that you would like to see go the way of the dodo? Sound off in the comment section below! Stay safe and stay prepared.