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How to find water?

Water is one of your urgent needs in any situation. More than three quarters of your body is water so with that in mind it might be good to know that the jungle has plenty of it.

Finding water in the jungle is a bit easier than in many other regions. Using vegetation or trying to find a running water source is two ways that will help you stay hydrated in an emergency situation. Rainwater collected in clean containers or in plants is usually safe for drinking. However, purify water from lakes, ponds, swamps, springs, or streams. Use water purification tablets or boil the water for 10 minutes.

Using vegetation to collect water

Because jungles are so wet, collecting rainwater here is much easier than it is in other regions. However you should know where to look. When you are in a rainforest, you will notice that leaves on the ground are large. Because of the limited amount of sunlight that reaches them, they have become larger than your ordinary leaf so they can soak up more of the sun’s rays. These types of leaves are useful in collecting dew and rainwater.

If you have something to store the water in, simply angle one of these giant leaves into a container overnight or during a rainstorm. You will have some fresh drinking water in no time. If you have a poncho with you, you can tie it to a tree on a slant and allow the rain to collect and drain. If you find that the water taste a little funny, it may be because rainwater lacks certain minerals found in the groundwater or streams you may be used to drink from during trekking tours.

Another useful tip is to tie a clear plastic bag around a green leafy branch. This will cause water in the leaves to evaporate and condense in the bag. If you place cut vegetation in a plastic bag, they will also produce condensation that might be crucial for you.

Following animals to water

You will of course be fare better of if you can find a running water source. Since animals require water regularly, they might actually be able to lead you to precious water. But what animal should you pay special attention to?

Well, to start with, you should not always trust the meat eaters. They are unpredictable because they get moisture from the animals they eat, so they can go without water for long periods. Instead look for guidance from grazing animals. They are usually never far away from water.

Birds can also be an allied in your search for something to drink. While water birds are untrustworthy since they fly long distances without stopping, grain eaters, such as finches and pigeons, are never far from water. Grain eaters’ drink at dawn and dusk and when they are heading for water, they fly straight and low. When returning from water, they are full and will fly from tree to tree, resting frequently. Just as meat eating animals, hawks, eagles, and other birds of prey get liquids from their victims and do not act as a good water indicator. Of course you should also look for human tracks. They will usually lead to a well, bore hole, or soak.

If you finally find a stream, avoid drinking the water immediately. The water could contain parasites that can make you seriously ill. Always purify the water with water purification tablets or by boiling it over a fire for at least 10 minutes. Needless to say, this requires either tablets or a container of some sort so make sure you bring this with you on your trip and always carry it with you.

If you find that the water you found is nothing but a muddy streams or muddy lake, dig a hole in sandy soil about 1 meter from the bank. Clearer water will then seep into the hole. Once again boil the water for at least 10 minutes.


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