Camping & Survival

Swampy Survival Skills

A swamp in summertime

Swamp survival can be one of the most uncomfortable places to try to survive. If you find yourself lost and alone in the swamps of the American south, I don’t envy you. The southern swamps are home to several dangerous animals. Inhabiting these swamps are several species of poisonous rattlesnake, alligators, aggressive snapping turtles, and even more aggressive wild hogs. As if all that wasn’t enough the number of mosquitoes buzzing about in these areas is astonishing. Other bugs are a nuisance as well. Spiders, ticks, and jiggers are all over every surface of the swamp. The ground literally crawls in these areas. How in the world could anyone survive in such a hostile environment? If you have a few simple items, it may be easier than you think.

A swamp in summertime
Never Go Swimming in a Swamp, You Aren’t Swimming Alone
As with any survival situation, getting clean water is your primary concern. If you are stuck in the swamps in the humid summer, you will dehydrate very quickly. What’s worse, is that you are surrounded with water that is loaded with pathogens. Your best bet would be to boil the water in a campfire, as this will kill most microorganisms lurking in your morning refreshment. If you stumble on a discarded aluminum beer can, you can use this as a boiling pot, coffee cans work well too, if you are lucky enough to find one. Besides boiling, there is also the water vine method. Once you locate a one, make a cut high up on the vine and then make another cut lower on the vine. Then just let the water drain into your mouth or container. Although water from most of these vines is safe to drink, avoid those that have a bitter taste or color sap.

Frog Legs Taste Like Chicken Wings, Especially When Fried!
Once you have your water situation handled, your next priority is shelter. Your best bet here is to find a somewhat flat, dry spot to make your home. Your focus should be staying dry. Building something to keep the rain off you is ideal. Even in the summer, it can get very chilly at night in a swampy area. Combine cool temperatures and a little rain, and you have the makings of hypothermia. A simple lean-to with a solid roof of leaves and branches will make a lot of difference. One thing to keep in mind, is to burn the area where you intend to sleep and sit. This will remove some of the jiggers and ticks that will surely be crawling all over you should you skip this step. In addition to the ticks, covering your exposed skin with a thick layer of mud will keep mosquitoes from biting you. Native Americans used this method for keeping away mosquitoes for an untold amount of time, as it is very effective.

When you surround yourself with the luxuries of water, shelter and the warmth of a fire, your mind tends to start focusing on the stomach. This is perhaps less of a problem in a swamp, as there are literally tons of ways to capture food. Most of the animals in a swamp make for decent eating. Rattlesnake, frogs, catfish, and turtles can all potentially be on the menu. Frog is probably your easiest catch, since they are plentiful and not terrible difficult to spear. Fashion a three-pronged trident style spear and it will increase your changes of bagging dinner. Be watchful when hanging out near the water, since the alligators are looking for dinner too.

Provided you can keep yourself hydrated and fed, surviving in the swamp is definitely possible, but I can think of better places to get lost at night, since those areas tend to be down right creepy.

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