How To Survive Getting Stranded In The Jungle

Of all the different kinds of environments in the world, perhaps none is more intimidating to survive in than the jungle or rainforest. Not only is it incredibly easy to get lost in the jungle, but there are also so many dangers to be concerned about, including hungry predators, venomous critters, pouring rain and large swampy areas that make staying dry impossible, mudslides or flash floods, and thick undergrowth that makes travel incredibly difficult to name a few.

That being said, many people have become lost in the jungle before and managed to make it out, so there’s no reason to think that you can’t as well. Here are the top tips for how to survive when you get stranded in the jungle:


Astronauts participating in tropical survival training at an Air Force Base near the Panama Canal, 1963. From left to right are an unidentified trainer, Neil Armstrong, John H. Glenn, Jr., L. Gordon Cooper, and Pete Conrad.
Astronauts participating in tropical survival training at an Air Force Base near the Panama Canal, 1963. From left to right are an unidentified trainer, Neil Armstrong, John H. Glenn, Jr., L. Gordon Cooper, and Pete Conrad.



The first thing you must do is to avoid panicking and think about your situation. Come to terms with the fact that you are lost in the jungle, and focus on the priorities needed to ensure your survival.


If you think about it, the priorities for surviving in the jungle aren’t really any different than if you were in any other environment: you have to find a source of clean fresh water, build a fire and a shelter before darkness falls, look for a source of food, build weapons and tools for hunting and maybe defense, and figure out the direction you need to travel.

Be Prepared For Rain…Lots of Rain

If there’s one thing you need to be prepared for in the jungle, it’s the rain, and lots of it. There are only two seasons in the jungle, wet and dry, and it will rain during both of those seasons (though more so during the wet season). Despite the torrents of rain that will fall from the sky, the jungle will still remain at high temperatures (generally above ninety five degrees Fahrenheit) with tons of humidity.


Finding Clean Drinking Water

You’re going to get wet if you’re stranded in the jungle because of all the rain, and this can’t be avoided. The trade off to the large amounts of rain, however, is that this gives you an excellent source of clean drinking water to collect while you travel.

While you can use cloth or a tarp of some kind to collect the water, you can also turn the leaves of the jungle into funnels to collect the water as you go as well. Another significant source of water in the jungle will be from bamboo stalks. The bamboo collects rainfall, and if you cut and break the bamboo apart, you’ll be able to access the clean drinking water inside.

Be careful when dealing with bamboo it can splinter easily, and the splinters can be very sharp.


Yet another source of fresh water in the jungle will be river and streams. However, you have to be extremely careful about drinking this water and should never drink it directly from the source. Always use purification tablets and/or a water filter if you have them, or better yet, boil the water in a metal container before you even think of drinking it.

Drinking enough water is critical in any survival situation, but drinking water that is infected with contaminants such as bacteria or parasites can be more dangerous than not drinking any water at all. This is why boiling your water is so important.

Fishing For Food

Speaking of streams, they will also provide you with one of the best sources of food the jungle has to offer: fish.

The best way to go about fishing in the jungle is nighttime spear fishing. To do this, you’ll need to construct a fishing spear. Find a bamboo stalk to use as the pole, and then use a knife or sharp edge to separate the end into different prongs. Secure the base of the prongs with vine so they won’t split any further, and then sharpen each individual prong so it can pierce through flesh.


Night spear fishing , Amazon basin ,Peru. taken by:Yuval gelber
Night spear fishing , Amazon basin ,Peru. taken by:Yuval gelber

At night, wade out into a shallow area of the stream with a torch in one hand and your spear in the other. Move slowly and carefully, and wait for the fish to become attracted to the light before striking with your spear.

You may not feel comfortable with the idea of actually wading out into the stream, so as an alternative, you can stand or a sit on a rock or log hanging over the stream and hold your torch or spear over the water that way.

Building Shelter

When it comes to building a shelter in the jungle or rainforest, something that you must do is construct a shelter that will keep you off of the ground while you sleep. This is simply to protect you from the creepy crawlies as well as from water and moisture.

The best kind of shelter to make will be a lean-to shelter with a raised platform for your bed. Find a long pole or bamboo stalk and secure it between two trees, and then set smaller poles each at a forty-five degree angle against the pole. Cover it with foliage to complete this part of the shelter. When using leaves etc, for your cover start at the bottom and work up so that the overlaps point downwards.

Next, secure two more poles on both sides of the trees though closer to the ground for the bed. Tie smaller sticks and poles between the two and cover with foliage to complete your bedding.

Protecting Yourself From Predators and Venomous Critters


You’ll need to be on full alert when stranded in the jungle. Move slowly but steadily and avoid crashing through the thick undergrowth as this can create a lot of noise.

Find a bamboo stalk or pole and sharpen one end of it into a spear. This can serve both as a walking stick and as a defensive weapon with plenty of reach.



You also need to be concerned about venomous insects and reptiles, as well as flies and mosquitoes that are known for spreading disease. To repel insects, cover as much of your skin as possible with clothing, and then rub mud over any skin that is exposed. Always keep a bandana wrapped around your head and neck.

Finding Your Way Out

Navigating your way through the jungle is difficult but not impossible. The simplest way to find your way back to civilization will be to travel downhill, and eventually this will lead you to a stream. Follow that stream to a larger stream or river, and then follow that river until eventually you find a human settlement.



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nick-oetken is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival