What are common survival myths?

It's vital to have the right info in emergencies. Yet, many survival myths mislead and endanger lives. Here, we bust common myths and share what really helps in survival.

In an emergency, accurate knowledge is key for safety. Let's learn the truth vs. false survival beliefs. This will help us face tough situations with the right facts.

Many myths exist around finding shelter or making fire. We aim to clear these up. Knowing the facts lets you choose better, improving your chance of survival.

A person stranded in the wilderness holding a compass, while a map and a survival guide lay untouched beside them. In the distance, a large river flows, but the person seems hesitant to approach it.

Key Takeaways:

  • Survival myths can be misleading and pose risks during emergencies.
  • Separating fact from fiction is essential to ensure your safety.
  • Debunking common survival myths will equip you with accurate knowledge.
  • Understanding the truth can improve your chances of survival.
  • Stay tuned as we dive into individual survival myths and uncover the reality behind them.

Myth: Sheltering in Place Is Always the Safest Option

During emergencies or disasters, many people choose to stay at home. They believe it's the safest, giving them a feeling of security. But, it's crucial to know that sheltering in place may not always be the best choice for survival.

Depending on the crisis, staying home could be more dangerous.

For example, if your house is not safe anymore or violence in your area gets worse, staying home puts you at risk.

Also, being safe at home assumes you have enough supplies for a long time. Yet, not everyone can stock up on food, water, or medicine. In these cases, going out to get help or find a safer place might be smarter.

"Sheltering in place is not a universally applicable solution. It's vital to assess the situation and decide based on current conditions."

Sheltering in place can work in some cases, but you should also plan for other ways to survive. Always keep an emergency kit ready and know some safe places to go to. Stay up-to-date on local evacuation plans and resources.


Scenarios Safest Option Alternative Strategies
Natural Disasters (e.g., hurricanes, earthquakes) Sheltering in Place Preparing an emergency kit with food, water, and essential supplies. Identifying designated shelters or evacuation routes in advance.
Violence or Civil Unrest Evacuating to a safe location Staying informed about the situation through reliable sources. Knowing the locations of community shelters or safe zones.
Pandemics or Disease Outbreaks Sheltering in Place Stocking up on necessary medications and non-perishable food items. Adhering to recommended hygiene practices.


In the end, choosing to stay at home can be okay for some emergencies. But it's important to think about the risks. Always be ready to change your plans. Being prepared and knowing your options can help you stay safe and well.


Myth: You Can Survive for Weeks on Water Alone

Surviving is not just about drinking enough water. You also need food. Water is key, but you can’t live on it alone for long.

Going weeks without food is possible. However, you can't survive by drinking water only. You must eat to stay strong and healthy.

Finding food other than what's in your fridge is vital in tough times. You might need to pick edible plants, hunt, or fish. Knowing what local plants and animals you can eat is smart.

Keeping snacks in your bag boosts your survival chances. Energy bars, canned food, and dried meals are great. They are portable and last long.

Water is very important, but so is food. Make sure you have a plan for both. Staying hydrated and well-fed improves your survival odds in any scenario.


Survival Tips:

  • Create a diverse survival kit that includes both water and food sources.
  • Learn about edible plants and safe hunting/fishing practices in your area.
  • Rotate food items in your survival kit to prevent spoilage and ensure freshness.
  • Consider learning basic survival skills such as trapping or foraging to supplement your food supplies.
  • Prioritize finding water sources, but also make gathering food a priority.


Common Foods for Survival: Calories per 100g Protein per 100g
Beef Jerky 410 33g
Peanut Butter 588 25g
Canned Tuna 126 26g
Dried Lentils 353 24g
Trail Mix 498 13g

Myth: You Can Start a Fire with Just Two Sticks and Friction

One big survival myth is the idea of starting a fire with two sticks by rubbing them together. The reality is that it's very hard. It needs a lot of sharp skills and hard work. This method isn't as easy as it sounds.

Trying to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together is tough. It's especially hard for anyone who's not an expert in survival. Know that there are easier ways to make a fire.

To light a fire without help from modern tools, pick the right things to use. For example, a fire bow can be effective. You rub it against a wooden baseboard to create heat. This heat lights the tinder. But, this method takes time to get right.

Another way is using a fire plow. This means you move a wooden stick back and forth against a softer stick. The heat caused by friction helps start the fire.

Starting a fire with sticks is tricky, but there are easier methods. Always keep waterproof matches, lighters, or fire starters. These can make starting a fire easier when you're outside and need warmth.

Being ready to start a fire is very important. Knowing what works and what doesn't really matters. Being informed about survival myths can keep you safe outdoors.


Myth: Eating Snow Will Hydrate You

Many believe eating snow is good for hydration in tough times. But, it's actually a myth that could be dangerous. This common belief might do more bad than good.

Snow is just frozen water. but eating it can make you more thirsty. This is because it lowers your body's temp. It might make you cold and put you at risk for hypothermia.

It takes a lot of energy from your body to turn snow into water. But even if you do, the snow might not be clean.

Pollutants from cars and factories can land on the snow. Animals might have used it as a bathroom. This makes eating snow unsafe and not a good idea.

It's smart to melt snow before drinking in a survival scenario. You can do this with a stove, fire, or just using sunlight. This helps make sure the water is safe to drink after filtering it.


Create an image of a person in a snowy landscape, holding a cup filled with snow. In the background, show a body of water or a stream. The person should have a look of confusion or concern on their face as they contemplate whether or not eating the snow will hydrate them. Use cool colors to convey the icy surroundings and highlight the contrast between the cold snow and the warmer water.
It's better to find natural water sources like rivers, streams, and lakes. They're more likely to be safe for drinking compared to snow. But, always remember to purify the water before drinking it.

Staying hydrated is key for surviving tough times. Don't believe the myth about eating snow. Instead, focus on getting safe water to drink. This will keep you healthy and increase your chances of making it through.


Myth: Moss Only Grows on the North Side of Trees

Moss navigation is a cool survival trick. It's popular among outdoor lovers and explorers. Many think moss grows only on the north side of trees, acting like a compass. But, this idea is actually a myth that needs to be corrected.

It's true that moss likes the shade and moisture. Yet, where moss grows also depends on how much sun, how rough the tree bark is, and humidity. So, moss can cover any tree side, not just the north.

However, we shouldn't only trust moss for finding our way. It's better to use several methods for navigating. These can include using a compass, the stars, or known landmarks.

So, why does the myth persist? Some think that because moss likes cooler, wetter spots, it's mostly on the north side. But, relying just on moss for direction is risky. In new places, it might not lead you the right way.

Here's a table that explains what affects moss growth, and why the myth is wrong:

Factors Affecting Moss Growth Debunking the Myth
Humidity Moss does best in wet spots. But, it can flourish on any side of a tree because of local weatherings.
Shade and Sunlight Exposure Moss prefers dark, humid places. Yet, it can grow where there's enough shade, no matter the side.
Moisture Level in Soil Moss loves wet places. So, you can find it on all sides of trees near water sources.
Tree Bark Roughness The texture of tree bark affects moss growth. It creates small, wet spaces perfect for moss on any side.


Moss is a neat sign from nature, but it's just one tool for getting around. It's vital to mix moss hints with other solid navigation skills. Knowing the facts about moss helps adventurers stay safe and on track.


Myth: You Can Use Sucking Venom from a Snakebite

Snakebites come with many myths, some of which are dangerous. One such myth is that you can suck out venom from a snakebite. However, this method is not only ineffective but can also be harmful.

Snake venom acts fast, moving through the body. Trying to suck it out can introduce bacteria. It may also hurt the wound more.

If bitten, seek medical help at once. While waiting, here's what you should do:

  1. Stay calm and try to immobilize the bitten limb.
  2. Remove any tight clothes or jewelry near the bite area.
  3. Keep the bite area below heart level to slow venom spread.
  4. Clean the wound with soap and water, but don't use ice or a tourniquet.
  5. Apply a clean bandage to cover the bite and keep it clean.

Snakebites are serious. It's key to get professional help quickly.

Proper First Aid Techniques for Snakebites:

Myth Truth
Sucking out venom Seek immediate medical attention and follow recommended first aid techniques to minimize the effects of snake venom.
Applying ice or a tourniquet Clean the wound with soap and water, and keep the affected area below heart level.
Cutting open the wound Do not attempt to cut open the wound or apply suction devices as it can lead to further complications.
Knowing the proper way to handle snakebites can help you stay safe. Always get medical help and apply the right first aid. This ensures the best possible outcome.

Myth: The Loudest Sound Will Save You in a Bear Encounter

Many people think loud noises scare bears away. Yet, this idea is risky and might not work.

Bears could be curious about loud sounds. They might even move closer to check what's going on.

But some bears might get mad when they hear loud shouts. They might feel you're a threat. And making noise could make things worse.


Here's what you should do if you see a bear:

  1. Stay calm: Don't panic. Being calm keeps you and the bear from getting too worried.
  2. Assess the situation: Watch how the bear acts. This tells you what it might do next.
  3. Back away slowly: If the bear seems okay, step back slowly. Always keep an eye on it.
  4. Create distance: If the bear comes too close, move carefully to get further away. Don't run straight, bears can run faster.
  5. Use bear spray: When a bear is about to attack, think about using bear spray. Know how to use it right and always have it with you when you're in bear areas.
  6. Seek help if needed: If a bear attacks, lay down, protect your neck, and don't move. Play dead until it walks away.

Staying safe means preparing ahead of time:

  • Know the rules: Learn about the wildlife rules where you're going.
  • Use bear-proof food containers: This keeps the bears and you safe.
  • Be alert: Always watch around you. Knowing bear habits and what to do helps avoid problems.

Expert Tip: The Power of Bear Education

Understand bears and their homes before going there. The American Bear Association and BearWise have info to keep you safe. They help you learn how to live with bears well.


Bear Encounter Tips Actions to Avoid
Avoid surprising a bear. Approaching a bear.
Give the bear space and a clear escape route. Panicking or making sudden movements.
Speak calmly and firmly. Making loud or aggressive noises.
Slowly back away, maintaining eye contact with the bear. Running or turning your back on the bear.
Use bear spray as a last resort. Attempting to climb a tree.
Play dead if the bear attacks. Feeding or approaching a bear.


It's all about understanding bears and being careful. Forget the loud noises myth. Learn the right ways to handle bear encounters. This keeps everyone safe.


In conclusion, knowing fact from fiction is vital for survival. By clearing up these myths, we give you info crucial for emergencies. It's important to be informed and ready with real facts for survival.