All living things on this planet cannot survive without water. Some creatures can, however, survive for longer without drinking any water. Some others can’t even last a day. Humans can’t survive even three days without water. It makes up for 70% of our bodies, and we need it for the most basic biological functions. Without water, our organs and our brain begin to shut down, and it can often lead to death. Although jungles and rainforests hold a lot of water, believe it or not, finding drinkable water in this area can often be very challenging. Inexperienced travelers and hikers don’t know where and how to find a source of drinkable water.
Luckily, jungles have plenty of rivers flowing straight through them — but what happens if you’re lost in a jungle and not near a big river? Well, in this case, you will have to resort to more creative solutions. Besides, people who lived long before us didn’t have the luxury of clean water reaching them at their demand. They had to clean their drinking water and make it bacteria-free. Although most of the general public doesn’t care for these techniques, luckily, there are those who do. And these people are willing to share their knowledge with the rest of us, just in case we wander away somewhere all alone.
Jungles Hide a Lot of Rainwater
Yes, being lost in a jungle is difficult, but you need to get the most of the situation and do your best to survive. Organized rescuers usually successfully find all the people who get lost, but it is up to them to survive long enough.
Although you would think drinkable water waits for you at every corner when in the jungle, it is not necessarily so. What does await you at every branch, though, is rainwater. In the jungle, tree leaves are usually very large so to absorb as much sunlight as possible. You should be happy because this situation is very convenient for you. Large leaves are able to absorb and hold a lot of rainwater and dew. In case you have a container or any type of plastic or metal bottle, just curve a couple of leaves into it and leave it overnight. In the morning, you will probably have a bottle full of drinking water. Don’t worry too much about the taste — rainwater is usually drinkable, it only has fewer minerals than the one we drink.
How to Find a Running Water Source
Of course, the best water for drinking you can find is a stream or a river. But if you’re so far from running water that you can’t even hear it, how do you find it? Well, that is when you need to become friends with the animals, just like Mowgli in the Jungle Book. You don’t need to speak to them and become a part of a wolfpack, of course. But you will need to start thinking like a regular jungle animal.
The ground in the jungle is usually wet and muddy, so finding animal trails should be very easy. More often than not, these trails will take you to running water, because mammals need to drink often. If you see a deer, try following it quietly. The society may have inflated your ego by convincing you we’re the smartest species, but in the jungle, that’s not really the case.
Also, try following smaller birds — they usually need to stop and drink water often. However, this does not apply to water birds — they can often spend days without water while traveling. So if you see a smaller bird flying very fast without resting, it’s probably headed for the water. If you see it landing on branches every 2-3 minutes, it has probably just taken water and is heavy, so it needs to rest.
Additionally, insects can help you find a running water source as well. Flies, for example. At home, seeing a fly usually disgusts you, and you want to kill it immediately. In the jungle, on the other hand, a fly can save your life. They usually gather very close to water sources, and that’s where they spend their short life as well. Should you see flies, mosquitoes, or any other flying insect for that matter, you’ll know that water is near. However, not all water is clean, and you should purify it before drinking it. There are plenty of ways to do this, and they’re effortless to perform as well.
Purifying Your Water
Now that we’ve established where and how you can find a water source in the jungle, it is essential that you learn how to clean it. It is usually fine to drink water directly from big, fast rivers. The water runs fast enough so that no bacteria and parasites can stay and multiply in it for too long. But jungles also have a lot of streams and ponds, and if you’re thirsty, you’ll want to drink from it immediately.
Believe it or not, this is what brought death to people who got lost, not thirst or hunger. This water can often be contaminated and have parasite eggs, bacteria, and deadly viruses in it. Sometimes, the bacteria aren’t deadly, but they can give you diarrhea, which can lead to severe dehydration. And dehydrating in such a humid environment is easier than you believe.
The easiest way to purify the water is to boil it. In case you didn’t bring a container, most of the natural habitats have plastic and metal bottles that someone threw away. If it is metal or aluminum-based, then you’re in luck. But even if it is a plastic bottle, don’t lose hope. You can always hang it just above the fire so it doesn’t melt, and the water will still boil.
Additionally, you can even make your own filter. All you have to do is take a bottle or container and put a couple of small holes in the bottom. First, you need to add a layer of charcoal, then some sand, a layer of smaller rocks above it, and then a layer of larger rocks at the top. This will remove all the possible bacteria and parasites from the water. You can collect the water that drips from your home-made filter and drink it care-free.
So don’t just drink the first water you see, it can permanently damage your health. Some bacteria in it even cause blindness and muscle weakness.
Now You’re a Survivor
There are a couple of more methods to purify your water, but they often involve having chlorine pills that dissolve in the water and purify it. While it is very smart to have this in your backpack, most people don’t even think of it. The methods mentioned in this guide are the ones that you can easily use in the jungle, and you can take advantage of all the moisture.
If you’re lost and you keep yourself hydrated and well-fed, it is just a matter of time before the rescuing group finds you and saves you. Imagine all the stories that you get to tell your grandchildren.