an image of the glorious Rupununi river weaving through the rainforest of Guyana's jungle

The Greatest Dangers of the Jungle

The greatest dangers of the jungle are, largely, centred around human error. Avoid making mistakes, and you dramatically increase your chances of surviving in the jungle. While a number of the jungle’s inhabitants, such as its poisonous plants and predatory animals, all have the potential to be harmful, the greatest risk is that you will cause problems for yourself.

Human error

an image of a man sitting in a shelter he built himself during a Bushmasters jungle survival course.

First on our list is the most dangerous of all our items: the errors you make yourself. The jungle has its fair share of complications, but the only thing that can make those complications into actual problems is you.

You may see a potentially dangerous animal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in trouble. Provided you react to your situation in the right way, you should be able to navigate the jungle and avoid any close shaves.

The clearest piece of advice we can give you is to remain calm. The hardest battle is in your own mind; if you can win that one, and not give in to the temptation to panic or take rash decisions, you’ll be well on your way to getting out unscathed. If you’ve been trained, then it’s even simpler – just follow your training!

Plant life

An image taken from the inside of a jungle, showing an array of the bamboo plants and flora

One of the most obvious risks to your health the jungle poses is its vast array of plants and greenery. As an invaluable food source, plants are easily overlooked due to their potential for sustenance; herein lies the real risk. As you’ll be so eager to find food, to provide you with much-needed energy and nutrition, it can be very easy to neglect the necessary checks.

It is absolutely essential that you proceed with caution if you’re following a plant-based diet whilst attempting to successfully navigate the jungle. If you’re in any doubt whatsoever over the suitability of a plant for your next meal, then it’s better to avoid it than to take the chance. As a rule, most plants will only make you ill if you actually eat them, but certain species are also dangerous to touch, such as poison ivy; wherever possible, carry a manual or guide with you to inform your decisions.

Wildlife

Picture of a black caiman, an animal that may be encountered on a jungle survival course

It’s no secret that the jungle is home to a staggering number of different species, some of which have the potential to harm humans. The key, however, is in the way you interact with these animals. In the vast majority of cases, incidents with wild animals happen as a result of human intervention or clumsiness.

Steer clear of obvious threats such as caiman, anacondas, and jaguars, and they will leave you alone. Humans don’t present themselves as easy targets for these species as they’re bigger, quicker, and less well-known than their usual prey.

Orientation

an image of a man sat by a river in the rain during a Bushmasters jungle survival course

Fourth on our list is, again, tied intrinsically to your own capacity to survive: navigation. Getting lost in the jungle is one thing, but getting lost in your attempts to return to civilisation is a much harder obstacle to overcome. If you’re lost, then it is absolutely crucial that you devise a plan and stick to it. The last thing you need is to be wasting time and energy walking in circles.

It might be that you don’t have a compass, or had absolutely no idea where you started. These issues in themselves should not be enough to make you panic; the best piece of advice we can offer is that you don’t backtrack. Provided you’re thinking clearly (refer back to point number one), you will be able to plan a route and stick to it.

Water

an image of sunlight hits the water in the middle of the rainforest

A relatively simple danger on the face of it, but our fifth and final item has a few different aspects to it. First and foremost, the waters of the jungle are home to some very dangerous creatures. Remember how we said that steering clear of animals was the best way of staying safe around them? Well, plunging into their habitat and thrashing about certainly doesn’t constitute “steering clear”.

In addition, however, drinking water from the wrong places poses very serious health risks. It is essential that you either learn to filter your drinking water, or that you’re able to collect it from clean sources (such as rainwater or certain plants). Failure to do so could result in your complete immobilisation or worse.

Finally, trench foot and other water-related ailments are commonplace in the jungle. Ensure that you stay dry and, if you do get wet, that you dry off before the damp has a chance to take effect.

All about you

As we spoke about at the start of the piece, your biggest enemy in the jungle is actually yourself. Provided you fight the urge to panic or overreact, and are sensible with the decisions you make, you have every chance of surviving your encounter with one of nature’s most wild habitats.

Think you could handle it? We’d love to hear from you. Contact Bushmasters about our upcoming jungle ventures.