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If I had a nickel for every survival tip I’ve ever heard or have communicated to others, I’d be a wealthy man. But I don’t, and I’m not. 

You may have heard some of these tips yourself. Either from us or from other sources.

So rather than provide you with a laundry list of survival tips in the hopes that a few might be new to you, I’m going to do something a little different today.

I’m going to give you survival tips I’m hoping you’re not familiar with. Yes, a few of them might be a little “out there.” And most you’ll probably never have the chance to use. But who knows? One or more of them might come in handy someday.

Animal instincts

If you get bit by an animal, first clean and bandage the wound. But next – and this is crucial – go to your doctor. If you get rabies from the bite, you might feel fine for a while. But by the time you have symptoms, you could get very sick and maybe die. 

Let’s say you’re suddenly confronted with a wild animal starting to come toward you. Running away will be your first instinct, but it could get you killed. The animal will probably catch you quickly. Instead, get behind or up into the nearest tree.

Now, if that animal is a bear and you have a choice of running uphill or downhill to get away, choose downhill. Because their front legs are longer than their back legs, they struggle with running downhill. They’ll catch you quickly if you run uphill.

Spider bites hurt, but their poison could hurt more once it gets fully into your bloodstream. Look to see if there is a red line running away from the bite toward your body. If so, find your way to the nearest emergency room asap.

Situational awareness

Anytime you enter a building you’re unfamiliar with, quickly familiarize yourself with as many of the exits as possible. You never know where you’ll be when an emergency might occur, but this way you’ll know where the nearest exit is.

The same is true with a hotel. Once you’ve checked into your room, find a diagram to determine several escape routes from your floor to the lobby or underground garage.

What would you do if you woke up in a coffin underground? The sides of a coffin are weaker than the top and bottom, so try to kick one of them out. Then take as deep of a breath as you can and start clawing your way up through the dirt. There will be plenty of time to hunt down your spouse later.

Always be aware of your surroundings and be ready to run if an attacker confronts you. But unless they have a weapon and you don’t, putting up a fight might buy you enough time to convince the assailant to flee.


If you’ve ever been in a burning building, you know how petrifying it can be. Obviously you want to get out as quickly as possible. But if the smoke is getting thick, you’re better off crawling than running. The lower you are, the less smoke there will be.

Would you drive if you knew you were drunk? I certainly hope the answer to that question is a resounding “No!” But being overly tired is pretty much the same thing as being intoxicated. Pull over before you hurt yourself and/or someone else.

Anytime you’re going somewhere (camping, hiking, etc.) where cellphone service might be iffy, give your itinerary to family members and friends. If you get trapped somewhere, you’re going to need that person to alert someone who can find you.

You fall into a rapidly moving river. You should immediately try to swim to shore, right? Wrong. You could drown from hyperventilating. First focus on getting your breathing under control and floating. Then watch for something you can grab onto. 


Here are a few more…

  • Always carry a lighter. Even if you don’t smoke (good for you), you may need to start a fire.
  • Always carry a water purification device. Such as a straw or tablets. You might need them for drinking or washing a wound.
  • If you get a bug bite and don’t have an anti-itch ointment, use toothpaste on it.
  • If you have to sleep outdoors without a sleeping bag, use leaves for insulation. Sleeping on the ground will lower your body temperature.
  •  If you’re caught outdoors in a lightning storm and can’t find shelter, get as low to the ground as possible and remove anything metal from your body, such as a belt buckle or jewelry.
  • Never mix bleach and ammonia in the same room when cleaning. The vapors could make you sick or worse.
  • If you have to break through a locked door, running into it could injure your shoulder. Instead, kick at its weakest point, which is next to the handle.
  • When you call 911, first say where you are, then describe the emergency. If you get cut off, at least they’ll know how to find you.
  • While camping, if you need to relieve yourself, do it at least 100 yards away and downwind from your campsite. Animals can smell that stuff.
  • If you check into an Airbnb, ask if there are any hidden cameras in the room. They may not answer honestly, so shine a bright light at possible locations such as a smoke detector. A camera lens will give off a bluish reflection.  

Bear-ly surviving

I saved what I think is the most interesting one for last. Can you tell the difference between a black bear and a grizzly bear? Being able to do so could save your life.

Grizzly bears have a pronounced shoulder hump and black bears don’t. Grizzlies have a concave facial profile, smaller ears and larger claws than black bears, which have a “Roman nose” profile.

Why does this matter? If you think a grizzly bear may attack you, leave your backpack on, lie flat on your stomach with your hands clasped behind your neck and play dead. If you absolutely have to fight to survive, try to hit the bear in the face with your backpack or fists. 

If you think a black bear might attack you, don’t play dead. Apparently they like that. Try to escape downhill. Again, if you have to fight, aim for the bear’s face with punches and kicks. Apparently they don’t like that.

I’m willing to bet you have some weird survival tips and tricks up your sleeve. Feel free to share them in the comments section. Stay safe out there.  

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