5 Popular Survival Myths That Just Might Kill You!

Growing up we’ve heard many survival tips, such as sucking the venom out of a snake bite, or rubbing your hands together when it’s very cold. These myths are sometimes even shown in popular TV shows – in Friends they peed on a jellyfish burn for example. Some of these myths  are simply wrong, some just ineffective, while others are dangerous to the point they just might kill you.

Here are 5 popular survival myths that just might kill you:

Click the image below to watch the Survival Myths that Just Might Kill You! video








  1. Escaping a bear attack by climbing a tree or playing dead:
    Why it’s wrong – bears are extremely territorial, and if you happen upon a mother with her young, it’s even worse. Bears can climb trees and run faster than humans, moreover, in most cases, if you play dead they may still eviscerate you with their claws just to make sure you’re really dead.
    What to do instead – if you plan to enter bear territory, equip yourself with bear spray – it can shoot a little over 30ft (10m) and contains tear gas and other ingredients that will cause the bear such discomfort and even blind them when it comes in contact with their eyes or mouth, which in turn will cause them to leave you alone.

    If you haven’t got bear spray, get a long, sturdy stick, about 7ft (2m) long, and tie a knife to its end to form a spear. Use it to hurt the bear in the soft parts of the face like nose, lips or eyes. Make sure the bear’s claws don’t touch you, since they sharpen them regularly so even a light stroke may be fatal.

    Be aware of your surroundings – bears sharpen their claws on trees, and sit by rivers to “smack” fish out for food, so if you see scratched bark on trees, bear size imprints on the ground or fish skeletons, it’s usually an indication that you’re in bear territory and its time to move out. Keep in mind that small firearms like most pistols, or even a pellet 12G shotgun, will only irritate the bear rather than stop it.

  2. Escape a swarm of bees by jumping into a body of water:
    Why it’s wrong – bees’ eyesight is very limited, and they mostly rely on motion sensors. They don’t really know that humans exist, since we’re too large and seem like a sort of wall to them. Thus, running will only indicate danger for bees, and they might sting you to protect their hive and queen. Jumping into water may bring a slew of other problems in a survival situation, from destroying or losing your gear, to requiring you to dry out, wasting valuable time, that should be invested in the survival priorities, like building a shelter or finding and filtering water.
    What to do instead – stand very still and wait until they leave, or light a fire, which will repel them almost immediately. They are extremely sensitive to smoke and heat since they breath through small pores (called spiracles) that are located on the sides of their abdomen.

  4. Suck the venom out of a snake bite:
    Why it’s wrong – sucking out the venom will usually require you to move, increasing your blood flow, and spreading the venom throughout the body. Also, more often than not, we have micro tears in our tongue and mouth, where the venom might enter our bloodstream.What to do instead – first it’s important to determine if the snake is venomous – the area around the bite will turn purple and be very painful and swollen, followed by dizziness, headache, and dryness in the mouth. If this is the case, the best thing to do is relax and lie down, but if that’s not possible, try placing the bitten area so it’s located below the heart. Make sure to either capture the snake (preferably dead), or take a photo of it, and then reach a hospital as quickly as possible. This will enable the doctors to match the proper anti-venom. Keep in mind that most venoms will take hours until they are fatal.

  6. Rubbing your hands together for warmth in a cold and wet environment:
    Why it’s wrong – in case of hypothermia or lowered core temperature, rubbing your hands together may feel good, but won’t help in any other way.What to do instead – remove any wet clothes, find a windproof shelter, start a fire to warm it up, and dry the wet clothes. Rub your chest and the central areas of the body to warm up the blood near the heart so it’ll deliver warmer blood to the rest of the body. If you have someone with you, it’s very effective to undress down to your underwear, and keep your bodies close inside of a sleeping bag, which will warm you up.

  8. Eat snow instead of drinking water: 
    Why it’s wrong – snow is made of frozen rain drops, so we’re naturally inclined to eat it in a survival situation to re-hydrate, instead of wasting time turning it into drinking water. The premise is correct but the problem is that eating snow will drop your body’s core temperature, and snowy conditions only exist in a fairly cold environment to begin with (below 32F or 0C degrees). This means you’ll soon enter a hypodermic state, which may be fatal.
    What to do instead – either heat the snow using a fire, or if you’re on the move and need some water quickly, place some snow in a waterproof container and inside your jacket – the snow will melt and you’ll be able to drink it while the water’s temperature is closer to your body’s. Make sure to use clean snow.

To Sum Up:
We’ve heard many survival myths growing up – some of them are simply wrong, while others can be very dangerous. It’s very important to learn the true survival skills, so if we’re ever faced with these sort of situations, we’ll keep calm and know what to do, without wasting precious time (which is our greatest adversary in any survival situation).

Have YOU ever heard any survival myths that are simply wrong and just might kill you?
Please share your thoughts with us – I love getting your feedback, and read each and every one of your messages!

Coming up:
We’ve had so much fun with this post and decided to continue in the next post with another 5 popular survival myths that just might kill you – from immediately looking for water when stranded in the desert, to drinking your own pee when there’s no other source of water.

I can’t wait to share all of this with you,

So until then – Stay Safe!!

Your friend always,

Roy Shepard

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