Beware of flash floods when you are traveling
along dry watercourses, particularly in the vicinity
of mountains. You should never make camp in
a stream bed; while rain in the desert is scare,
storms can and do produce flash flooding very
When used with reference to survival, the term
tropics refers primarily to jungles, for those are
the parts of the tropics that present survival
problems distinctly different from those in other
parts of the world.
Most stories about the animals, snakes,
spiders, and nameless terrors of the jungle are
pure bunk. You are probably safer from sudden
death in the jungle than in most big cities. You
will probably never see a poisonous snake or a
large animal. What may scare you most are the
howls, screams, and crashing sounds made by
noisy monkeys, birds, and insects.
The real dangers of the tropics are the insects,
many of which pass on diseases. Probably the
worst disease is malaria, which is transmitted by
the mosquito. That is why the survival kit
provides a mosquito headnet. Wear this net
regularly, especially at dawn and dusk when
mosquitoes are the thickest; use insect repellent,
wear gloves, and take Atabrine pills too. A
smudge fire also helps keep mosquitoes away,
especially at dawn and dusk.
There are many other insects and pests in the
jungleticks, leeches, scorpions, centipedes, and
spiders, to name just a few. Stings or bites from
these insects can create infection and cause illness.
Frequently check your body and your clothing for
insects and get rid of them. Beware of scratches
also. In the jungle even the slightest scratch can
cause serious infection within hours.
As with the Arctic and the desert, clothing in
the tropics serves as a protection against exposure,
insects, and plant life. You should keep your
sleeves rolled down and buttoned. Tuck the legs
of your pants into your socks and keep your shoes
on. This may help keep out unwanted insects such
as ticks, leeches, and ants. Always wear full
clothing in the tropics. By wearing your clothing
loosely, your body will be cooler. Change your
clothing as often as it is practical. Remember dirty
clothes may lead to a skin infection; therefore,
they should be washed daily, especially your
Food and Water
Food and water are plentiful in the jungle. It
is a proven fact that a person can survive in the
jungle and actually like it, if provided with a basic
knowledge of how to use the animals and other
food found in the jungle. When you are selecting
food in the jungle, watch the monkeys. Almost
everything a monkey eats is eatable by humans.
There are fish in all jungle streams. Eat only fish
that have scales and look typically like a fish. Fish
that have slimy skin and unusually shaped bodies
are to be avoided.
Night in the jungle comes very fast. So prepare
for bed early. In the jungle you need more sleep
than usual to keep up your energy and strength
and to maintain resistance against disease.
Try to pick a campsite on a knoll or high spot
in an open place well away from swamps. You
will be bothered less by mosquitoes, the ground
will be dryer, and there will be more chances of
a breeze. Dont build a shelter under large trees
or trees with dead limbs. They may fall and wreck
your camp or cause injury. Dont sleep or build
a shelter under coconut trees.
In the wet jungle forest, you will need shelter
from the dampness. If you stay with the plane,
use it for shelter. Try to make it mosquitoproof
by covering the openings with netting or parachute
In mountainous jungle, the nights are cold.
Get out of the wind. Make a fire a few feet from
a cliff or against a log or rock pile, and build your
shelter so that you get reflected heat. Arrange the
reflector so that the fire doesnt blow toward you.
You may need fire for warmth, for keeping
dry, for signaling, for cooking, and for purifying
water. Do not build a big fire. Small fires require
less fuel, are easier to control, and their heat can
be concentrated. In cold weather small fires
arranged in a circle are much more effective than
one large fire.