How to Survive in the Jungle

Moving Through the Jungle

Reading may be fundamental, but if this guy doesn't pay attention he'll get his face mauled by a hungry puma.
Reading may be fundamental, but if this guy doesn't pay attention he'll get his face mauled by a hungry puma.
Oliver Strewe/Getty Images

So you're stuck in the jungle and you have food, water and shelter. Life is pretty good. The only problem is that you aren't Mowgli from "The Jungle Book," so eventually you want to get out and back to the warm confines of your living room. In order to do this, you need to be able to move through the jungle terrain without getting hurt. The jungle's undergrowth is thick, thorny and difficult to get through. With some practice, you'll be moving through it like an anaconda.

If you have the option of wearing long sleeves, do so even though it's hot and humid. Avoiding cuts and scratches means you're avoiding potential infection. When making a path where there is none, don't look directly in front of you. Look 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters) ahead for natural breaks in the foliage and stay on that course. Common survival advice is to try and look "through" the jungle instead if at it. Also keep an eye on the ground, as it may expose a slightly covered trail. To avoid walking in circles, pick out a fixed object like a tree about 100 feet (30 meters) in front of you and walk to it. Then pick out another behind you. This will keep your course nice and straight.


Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife danger -- snakes, jaguars and anything else that can be a threat. Move slowly and steadily and make sure to listen as well. If you have a machete, you're in good shape. But cut only what you need to get through the vegetation or you'll tire out. Remember, you aren't establishing a trail for everyone else to follow, just yourself. Find a long walking stick to part the vegetation directly in front of you or to move any varmints you might encounter. Using a stick will also help move biting ants, spiders or snakes.

There may be natural trails made by animals that you can follow. These trails often lead to water or clearings that will improve your chances of getting spotted. But only use these trails if they're heading in the direction you want to go.

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  • "AMAZON RIVER FISH…Among the Most Feared and Biggest on Earth." 2008.
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  • "International Year of Fresh Water 2003." United Nations.
  • "Jungle Survival - Start a fire but don't burn down the forest." 2008.
  • "Jungle survival overview." 2008.
  • "Thailand: Whisky on the rocks and some bamboo worms, please." IRIN News. Feb. 26, 2008.
  • "Tropical Survival." 2008.
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  • "Virtual Jungle - Survival." BBC. 2008.