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  • Robert Richardson

Wilderness Survival – How watching Wild Animals can Help you Survive

In a wilderness survival situation, animals can provide you with not only food but valuable knowledge of the environment around you. Animals are the ultimate experts at survival; they have perfectly adapted to their environment and can give you clues on what to do.

Animals can signal when bad weather is coming

It seems some animals have a way of knowing exactly when bad weather will hit. For instance, when birds are flying high the weather is most likely clear; but once you see them dive down and start flying closer to the ground, it’s usually a pretty good indicator that bad weather is coming.

A lot of animals can sense changes in air pressure; for birds, the change in pressure causes them pain when flying at high altitudes. That means they instinctively fly closer to the ground right before an incoming storm system.

If they disappear completely, along with bees, then there is almost certainly a storm coming. The drop in pressure tells them to go to their hive or nest and prepare.

Animals can signal when danger is near

Animals can be a great early warning system, especially when other larger predators might be in the area.  Birds are like miniature emergency alert systems and can alert you to incoming problems.

For instance, Blue Jays will squawk at just about any threat, including anything moving around the woods too. They are the tattletales of the forest. A flushed pheasant, quail, and grouse make a lot of noise – if you didn’t flush it out, something else must have.

On the flip side, an absence of noise can also be a clue. Most animals will stop their activity if somethings not normal. Using the same reasoning, if you thought you heard/saw something, but see/hear the normal wildlife activity in that direction, then it’s probably safe to say it wasn’t a person or a large predator.

Animals can help you find sources of food and water

Just like people, animals require food, water, and shelter to survive. By keeping an eye on what the native animals are doing, you stand a much better chance of finding water and food sources.

But even if you don’t physically see the animals, they are leaving subtle signs that you need to watch for. For instance, converging animal tracks, consistent bird flight paths, and swarming insects can all point you to a nearby water source.

Some animals, like coyotes, will dig holes in areas with underground water. Watching for these seep holes can give you a good idea where you can dig your own water collecting seep.

A Word of Warning: Most animals will eat a little bit of almost everything that’s out there, including a few bites of various toxic plants. So while watching wild animals can provide you with valuable knowledge of your environment, keep in mind some of them will eat plants that can be poisonous to you. It’s always a good idea to test anything before you eat it.


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