Brazil Wilderness Survival Guide
by Caroline Tung Richmond
About 60 percent of the Amazon rain forest is in the country of Brazil. Dense and humid, this giant swath of Brazilian wilderness teems with a wide variety of plants and animals, but it can be deadly for unprepared human travelers. Although surviving in the Amazon is difficult and demanding, there are numerous ways to stay alive in this beautiful---yet dangerous---place.
The Brazilian wilderness consists mostly of the Amazon rainforest.
If you are planning to hike or camp in the Brazilian wilderness, make the proper preparations in case you become lost. Certain items, such a a machete and first-aid kit, are absolute necessities in the wilds of Brazil. Bring a compass, long rope, large poncho, cooking pot, and matches or lighters.
A machete is an essential tool in the Brazilian wilderness.
Because humans can live only three to five days without water, your first task is to locate a water source. Although water is abundant throughout the Brazilian wilderness, it can be difficult to find. Keep your ears open for sounds of a rushing stream or river. You might also follow grazing animals, such as deer, to a water source because they typically drink in the early morning and evening. After you have found water, boil it for at least 3 minutes to kill any bacteria. To further avoid dehydration, keep cool by staying in the shade.
The Brazilian wilderness offers ample amounts of plant life---but only some of it is safe for human consumption. If you are fortunate, you might find fruit trees, such as banana or breadfruit, to sustain your diet. Chances are, though, you will find fruits you have never seen before. If you think you have found an edible plant, you must apply the universal edibility test before you eat it (see Resources section). Stay away from plants with milky sap and thorns.
Building a Shelter
A shelter is important for your survival to protect you from the elements. When searching for a shelter site, choose a location close to a water source but far enough away to avoid flash floods. After you find a location, create a tent with a poncho, rope and two trees standing 2 to 3 yards apart. First, tie the rope around the trees at about knee-height. Second, place the poncho over the rope to create a tent shape. Third, secure the corners of the poncho with rocks. If you do not have these materials, try to find a natural shelter like a cave or rocky crevice.
As you try to survive in the Amazon, you may cross paths with dangerous animals, such as jaguars. In order to protect yourself, make a harpoon out of a sturdy branch, rope or shoelaces, and a machete. You can use the harpoon to defend yourself and to hunt wild animals, such as boar. If you do become injured, try to treat your wounds as soon as possible to prevent infection. Clean the wound with sterilized water and apply a layer of antibiotic ointment from your first-aid kit.