December 14

Surviving Natural Hazards: Animals and Vegetation


Experienced outdoor survivalists will often tell you that just about everything in the wild can kill you if you don’t know what you’re doing. In this article, we’ll look at 2 of the most common types of threats out there and how you can avoid and/or cope with them.

  • Poisonous plants

The difference between plants and animals is that plants will not suddenly attack you. The only times poisonous plants affect people is when they eat plants that they shouldn’t and touch plants that they shouldn’t.

If a plant has thorns, avoid it. If an area if filled with thorny plants, go around them. Don’t try going through them.

Never try eating mushrooms. Most are poisonous and will kill you. If you wish to eat fruits or plants that you’re not sure of, always conduct an edibility test before eating them.

If plants have sap, avoid touching them and make sure no sap comes into contact with your eyes. Plants such as poison ivy can cause rashes and burning sensations.

One of the best ways to be prepared to survive in the wilderness will be to study the types of plants that are native to the area where you’re bugging out. Do this during peace time, and you’ll be prepared when there is a crisis.

  • Dangerous animals

Depending on where you’re bugging out, you may be exposed to bears, big cats, wolves, wild dogs, snakes, wasps, etc. Knowing what to expect is half the battle won.

There is no point in bringing bear spray if you’re camping out in a place where there are coyotes or wolves. The best way to prevent animal attacks is to set up your tent in a place that’s away from them.

Don’t set up your tent under a wasp nest. Don’t walk around a wolves’ den. Be very aware of where you are.

Always make lots of noise when walking anywhere. This will scare away most animals. Snakes will retreat when they know humans are approaching. Most animals avoid humans out of fear. They only attack when they feel threatened.

Some bears, however, may amble over to your campsite because the smell of food draws them over. So, it’s best to clear all foods from your campsite when you’re done with your meals. Use airtight coolers that are ‘bearproof’ and take measures to keep your living area clean.

Keeping a fire burning will ward off most animals. Snakes, however, may be drawn to the heat and slink nearby. So, be careful.

If you camp close to mangrove swamps, lakes, etc. be wary of alligators. If you’re staying near the sea and go for swims, be careful of jellyfish and other sea creatures.

  • Surviving animal attacks

There is no better way of protecting yourself than getting a high-powered rifle. If there’s a wolf nearby that has been eyeing you and repeatedly walking by your campsite but keeping a distance, firing a round will scare it off. If it doesn’t, firing one round at it will bring it down if you are accurate.

While bear sprays are effective, you need to use them when the bear is close by… and that is usually too close for comfort. A gun can save your life even when used from a distance.

Against a big cat, you have almost no chance unless you have a powerful gun.

If someone gets stung by wasps, depending on the number of stings, they may go into anaphylactic shock. It’s best to have a syringe with adrenalin that can be used to save their life until they can get professional medical treatment.

Should someone suffer a snakebite, do not cut the bite to try and drain the blood, and don’t suck out the venom. These are wrong practices that are only seen in the movies.

Your best course of action will be to first kill the snake that bit the victim. Be very careful when handling the dead snake. It still has venom in its fangs. Bag the snake so that doctors will know what anti-venom to administer later. You must always rush the victim to the hospital.

Always check your tent before entering it. Snakes may take refuge in there. The same applies to your car that’s parked in the wilderness. Snakes attack when they feel threatened. Make noise and they’ll slink off on their own.

Keep a first aid kit in your car with bandages, cream for bites, syringes and adrenalin shots, etc. These items will be very useful in an emergency.

Ultimately, surviving in the wild requires knowledge, practice and experience. Get as much as you can before a crisis occurs. Don’t learn safety by accident.


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