Amazing Kids! Magazine

Useful Tips for Jungle Survival

By Enzo Monfre


As you read this I, along with my Exploration Nation co-hosts/friends, Emma and Haley, and Special Forces vets and surgeons will be traveling throughout Central America. We will be on a scientific expedition and medical aid mission to help the Rama Indians of Nicaragua.

One of the things that Emma, Haley and I will be doing while we are there, is surviving in the rainforest over night. We will have to purify water, collect food, start a fire, and build a shelter, and try to avoid getting eaten!

Finding Water to Drink

Humans can survive about 3 days without water – less than that, when it is very hot or if someone is very active.

Our bodies are made of about 85% water so without it, dehydration will result, leading to heat exhaustion, heatstroke and death within days.

Problem: There is plenty of water in the rain forest, but due to parasites and bacteria in the water, almost none of it is fit to drink.

Creeks and streams contain parasites that can make you extremely ill. All over the world, 6,000 children die each year from water-born illnesses, and many of these children live in jungles and rain forests.

Solution: Here are a few ideas to make water safe to drink:

  • Boil the water to kill all organisms in water.
  • Use commercial filters in working condition and used correctly to remove all organisms except viruses.
  • Put water in a closed, clear container (like a 2-liter soda bottle) and expose to a day of 
strong sunlight, then it is usually safe.
  • Water obtained by distillation is usually safe.
  • Using a filter made of 6-8 layers of tightly-woven cloth will make water safer.


Besides water, the other thing you’ll need to survive in the jungle is food. Your food choices revolve around edible plants, fruit, insects and fish.

Unless you have a guidebook on edible plant varieties, you’ll need to figure it out on your own. It can be deadly to eat a plant you are unsure of, so it’s better to try and find food elsewhere than to risk eating a toxic plant. You can follow these general rules when foraging for plants:

  • Avoid plants with white or yellow berries.
  • Don’t eat mushrooms. Some are safe, but many are highly toxic and even deadly, so it’s 
not worth the risk.
  • Avoid plants with thorns.
  • If it tastes bitter or soapy, spit it out.
  • Steer clear of shiny leaves.
  • Stay away from plants with leaves in groups of three.
  • Stay away from plants with umbrella-shaped flowers.
  • Avoid beans or plants with seeds inside a pod.
  • Milky or discolored sap is a warning sign.
  • Avoid anything with an almond smell.

Become familiar with local edible fruits before you travel to any jungle or rainforest. Depending on where you are, you can find everything from mangoes and bananas, to wild yams and sugarcane. Coconuts are a good food source in tropical jungles, as is sugarcane, figs, and papaya.


We will need fire to boil our water to make it safe, if climate is cool, fire is used for heat to avoid hypothermia, or fire/smoke makes a good signal fire.

Something has to heat the wood to a very high temperature for fire to occur. The heat can come from lots of different things — a match, focused light, friction, lightning, or something else that is already burning.


The best type of shelter for the Rain Forest is a hammock. We will make hammocks from tarps and paracord.

Animals and Plants

Weʼll have to watch for snakes and poisonous insects. Listen for clues about what is around you.

Watch where you step and use a machete to clear vegetation as you walk. Using a long stick ahead of you can also help you avoid spider webs.

In the rain forest, there are many kinds of animals ranging from harmless (leaf cutter ants) to weird (Howler Monkeys), to dangerous (Jaguars and wild boar).

Be careful handling plants – some have thorns and some are poisonous. Weʼll be working with experienced guides, so Iʼm not too worried… yet!

Who knows what else we will be doing, maybe working on a banana farm, or doing research in the jungle.

Be part of the expedition! Watch Exploration Nationʼs Free, Live Daily Broadcast

We will broadcast the Expedition live to tens of thousands of students across the United States.
April 4-16, at 2:00 p.m. Central time we will be broadcasting live, every day during our science adventure, (If you miss it, we will have segments recorded on our website.)
Join us online so you can be part of the expedition at:


  1. Jocey /

    This is so interesting

  2. Miranda /

    Helpful post, but why are the plants that smell of almond poisonous?

  3. Jocey /

    Wow,this is pretty useful!

  4. Mandy /

    You should explain why the plants are poisonous and how they poison you.

  5. Ashleigh /


  6. What if you don’t have anything except the clothes on your back? You won’t have pots, a knife, supplies, or anything!

  7. Animals in the jungle don’t eat you, as long as you don’t bother them. And what if you don’t have the supplies to do all that stuff…

  8. Katie Mcfarland /

    Plus it is awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Katie Mcfarland /

    I love this recource so,so much i’ts really good because I am doing a Surviving in the wilderness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. tyler cossor /

    this was really useful for my weebly page. THANKS!!!

    Tyler Cossor

  11. this really helped me with my project thank you so much
    hope other people will use this to

  12. tony /

    Really cool thanks for info

  13. William Wilson /

    Good, information, but more is needed for the section on shelter, as there isn’t enough to go off of.

  14. mitchell /

    how two climb trees

  15. Alessandro /

    This is amazing

  16. paige springston /

    high 5 great web page

  17. jennika pharella jennnacanopa /

    cool ↑high 5

  18. ariana /

    this is good source