There’s no doubt that there is a lot of helpful information out there about wilderness survival from experts and those who made it out of a crisis situation themselves. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of false survival information out there – information that can ultimately get you killed.
Here are five of the biggest myths about survival that could cost you your life:
Myth No. 1: You Can Successfully Suck the Poison Out of a Snakebite
The primary reason why this one is a myth in the first place is because we have seen it on so many movies and TV shows. But the truth is that cutting into a snakebite to get to the poison only makes an existing open wound worse. Furthermore, this action does not provide you with a good way to remove all of the poison, and any that you can remove with your mouth can either get on your skin or down your throat.
At the very least, this will cause heavy skin irritation and severely damage your trachea. The best treatment to handle a snakebite is to use anti-venom and seek medical attention. You should wear a cool, soaked bandana or similar material around your head and place another one over your wound until medical help arrives.
Myth No. 2: Food Is Your First Priority
There’s no denying that starvation is certainly one of the things that can kill you in a wilderness survival situation. But you can survive for up to four or more weeks without food. In other words, it’s not what’s going to bring you down first. In that time, there are plenty of other things that could kill you before you starve. Staying hydrated and staying warm are, by far, bigger priorities in a survival situation.
Myth No. 3: A Shelter Means You Are Protected
For one thing, chances are high you’re not going to make a shelter that has four walls and a roof when stuck out in a survival situation. Your shelter is more likely to be a lean-to or a similar, simple shelter. Such a shelter is necessary for survival because it keeps you camouflaged in the wild and offers you a little bit of wind protection. If you’ve insulated your shelter, it can provide you with some warmth as well.
But when it comes down to it, simply constructing a shelter is not going to keep you fully protected from the elements throughout the night. You’ll still be cold and uncomfortable, which is why you also must build a fire and always be on the watch for a hungry animal or an incoming storm.
Myth No. 4: If You’ve Been Stabbed by an Object, You Should Pull It Out
This is a myth similar to the snakebite one in that it comes from movies and TV. We’ve seen a countless number of heroes who, after being stabbed by a knife, pull the blade out and tend to their wound. If you are ever accidentally stabbed with a knife or any other sharp object in a survival situation (such as a sharp stick or glass), pulling it may only cause you to bleed faster and make things worse. Instead, dress your wounded area and keep the object stable until it can be properly removed.
Myth No. 5: Moss Only Grows on the North Side of Trees
While it is true that moss tends to grow better on the north side of trees, “better” does not equal “only.” In fact, as long as it receives water and shade, moss can grow on any side of a tree. The point of this is that you can’t count on tree moss as a navigational tool. For all you know, you could the going in the completely wrong direction – making your survival situation worse and threatening your life in the process.