1. IF A BEAR APPROACHES YOU IN THE WOODS, PLAY DEAD – This might work if it’s a mother grizzly defending her cubs. But if it’s any other kind of bear (especially black bears), it might attack you anyway. Your best bet is to make yourself seem large and intimidating. Open your jacket, spread out your arms, and start shouting. Hopefully the bear will be spooked and run away. Note: Avoid eye contact or the bear might consider it a challenge.
2. IF YOU'RE LOST IN THE WOODS, LOOK FOR MOSS ON TREES. IT ONLY GROWS ON THE NORTH SIDE – I remember seeing this on a TV show when I was a kid. It’s not true. Although moss does grow better on the north side of trees, it can grow on any side if the tree is shaded or near water. Following this myth could send you in the wrong direction and get you even more lost.
3. IF YOU'RE BITTEN BY A SNAKE, SUCK OUT THE VENOM – The last thing you need after a snake bite is to spread the venom faster by getting some of it in your mouth. Besides, you wouldn’t be able to suck fast enough to stop the venom from spreading. The best thing you can do is call 911, clean the wound, keep it below heart level, and sit still until someone arrives with anti-venom.
4. YOU KNOW HOW TO SURVIVE BECAUSE YOU READ THIS, WATCHED THAT, OR HAVE A SMART PHONE - If you extract anything at all from this article, I hope you learn that you can’t rely on the internet, television, or field guides to save you. Preparation and confidence are important in survival situations, but its crucial to keep in mind that all of your preparation should be geared toward avoiding life-and-death situations. Aside from extreme circumstances and extreme occupations, most people will not find themselves in life or death survival situations, without a chance of immediate rescue, absent user error. Striking off into the wilderness with the mindset that a book or 3G will save you is more than asking for trouble, it’s a pretty good way to find trouble.
5. ALWAYS SWIM PARALLEL TO THE SHORE IN A RIP CURRENT - Swimming parallel to the shore is a good way to escape a rip current that pulls straight out. Unfortunately, not all rip currents flow directly out to sea. In a longshore rip current, or a diagonal rip current, swimming parallel to the shore could tire a distressed swimmer to the point of drowning. Instead, if caught in a rip, swim perpendicular to the flow of the rip in the same direction as the prevailing wind or prevailing ocean current. If at any point you feel like you are swimming up stream, you’re doing it wrong. Like all survival situations, avoiding fatigue and making calm, rational decisions increases your chance of survival.
6. IN A DESERT, YOU CAN DRINK WATER FROM A CACTUS - This is not always true. The pulp from the prickly pear and various barrel cacti contains some nontoxic fluid, but its chemical content can induce diarrhea and vomiting, which hasten dehydration. You're better off seeking water in rock crevasses.
7. IF YOU'RE DYING OF THIRST, DRINK YOUR OWN URINE- It's one thing to drink dilute (pale) urine, which is 95 percent water. But the more times you pass it through your system, the more toxic the effect on your kidneys. Still, at what point it does more harm than good is a gray area.
8. TO TREAT FROSTBITE, RUB THE FROZEN TISSUE WITH SNOW OR IMMERSE IT IN COLD WATER - Use body heat (but do not rub) or immerse in warm water. But only when you're certain there's no chance that the tissue will refreeze, increasing the risk of permanent damage.
9. YOU NEED TO FIND FOOD RIGHT AWAY! - Your body can actually survive for weeks on your bodies fat reserves. And by that point in time, you're more likely to die by injury, exposure, poison or illness. People usually don't die of starvation in survival situations. The best thing you could do is build a shelter to get out of the elements, especially in a cold environment.
10. ALL YOU NEED TO START A FIRE IS TWO STICKS - Whoever started this needs to stop it. Starting a fire is much more complicated then simply rubbing two sticks together. You need a platform for the sticks, a top stone, probably a small rope to quickly rotate the stick, and lots of tinder (as much as you can find). You need lots of friction (heat), air flow, and your tinder (fuel). Without these three things, you won't complete the fire triangle, which is required to create a successful fire. Sometimes you can get creative if you have the items, such as a 9-volt battery and some steel wool, or a magnifying glass and the sun and even a chemical reaction with a small mount of potassium permanganate mixed with glycerin. The reaction might be too slow to do anything so but you can a few drops of water to get things going.
Now that you know a little more about what is fact and fiction when it comes to survival, maybe you can last a little bit longer out there in the wilderness, before you either find your way home, or have a peaceful departure into the long dark...
As always, Be Safe, Be Smart, Be Prepared.
Preppers have heard all kinds of crazy things when it comes to being out in the wilderness, and how to survive. Whether it be to play dead when a bear approaches, moss grows on the north side of a tree, or if you are impaled by an object, pull it out! These false myths not only are stupid, by they can be deadly! Read on for our list of the Top 10 Survival Myths!