Swamp survival could be the harshest situation possible if you don’t do things right. The terrain makes it difficult for you to move, and dangerous animals blend in with the surroundings and are not easily visible to the untrained eye.
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Swamp Survival | Getting Out of the Marsh
You Can Thrive in Swamps
Swamp survival is not an easy task, especially if you lack the necessary gear to get you through. You can be walking in open water with decades of decaying leaves, branches, and other organic materials.
You might think you’re walking on solid ground, yet you’re on an island of unstable floating grass that’s constantly shifting.
It’s the kind of habitat where all sorts of crawling animals can stealthily sneak up on each other for food, or worse, an unsuspecting human.
For whatever unfortunate reason you’re stranded in a swamp, here’s what you can do to survive and make it out in one piece.
1. Study Your Surroundings
Take a good look around you and carefully estimate if you’ll have to spend the night outdoors. Preparations are best done before sunset while there’s still some daylight to aid you.
Examine the tools available for you to determine what you can utilize as a fire-starting device.
2. Start a Fire
You should consider starting a fire before sundown. You have to gather every combustible material you can find.
Fire is a necessity for boiling water, cooking, and heat to get you through the cold night. The bark of a cyprus tree is an excellent fire starter.
3. Boil Water
Do your best to look for the cleanest water source in the area, then boil it for consumption. There’s no way of knowing how safe the water is, but it should do, for the time being, so you can survive.
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4. Swamp Food
You must have something to eat to give you energy the following morning. If you don’t have a food supply, then you’ll have to make do with what’s readily available.
Frogs are abundant in swamps, and they’re the closest you can get for food that tastes like chicken. Roast them over the fire and help yourself.
5. Build an Overnight Shelter
A simple shelter to help keep you warm overnight is a must. Try to search the area for solid ground and an area that seems far away from possible predator attacks.
Gather as many branches and leaves as you can to build a debris shelter.
6. Survey the Area
Walk around a few meters radius outside your shelter before getting a good night’s sleep. It always pays to be vigilant when you’re in a place like this.
You never know what silent creatures are just around the corner, so it’s better that you find them first before they get you in your sleep.
7. Find Your Way Out
Everything you did the night before is to prepare you for a fresh start at sunrise. At the first sign of daylight, find your way out as fast as you can.
If you’re not familiar with the terrain, there’s no telling where the first sign of civilization might be. Use the river as a guide to lead you to the nearest community.
I can guarantee you that these steps are the best course of action when you’re lost in the marsh. The difficult terrain is only part of the challenge.
There’s also always the possibility of crossing paths with venomous snakes and stalking reptiles along the way. It’s dangerous and no camping gear can save you from such creatures.
All that aside, your best bet is to stick to the game plan to increase your chances of survival.
What can you say about these instructions in swamp survival? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 22, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
Thanks for the info on surviving the swamp! I have been in this situation and made it out.
Frogs are definately a great food source and can be very delicious when that’s all you can find, much better than the snake!
Great article, lots of good info. My best trick for surviving in a swamp is to not go in there in the first place, Knowing that there are critters out there who would just love to have me for dinner has me planning to go around the swamp, not through it.
A debris shelter is definitely not the best course of action on the ground, a better plan is to build an ape bed in a bush or tree off the ground, way to many creepy crawlys on the ground. I live in a swamp an grew up in the everglades an high ground is hard to find in a swamp.
I fully agree with you. It was my thoughts as I read about their shelter
I agree with you Bill. When I saw the Picture and suggestion of a debris shelter, I was taken aback! After spending many of my 24 years of Army service training and working in the swamp, all I have to say about that is a debris shelter is at the bottom of the list in a swamp environment. in a swamp, height is your friend. Even if you just sleep straddling in the “V” of a large branch, that would be preferable to sleeping on the ground.
I always have a mesh hammock with me. Never ever sleep on the ground. Always elevate yourself. Plenty of things in the swamp to get you up off the ground.
A debris shelter in the swamp can always be found at the corner of “Nope” and “Nah uh”. Only if no other choice. Unless you like ticks, chiggers, and ants.
Snuggling up to snakes and alligators is not a good idea, either. Yes there are critters in the trees, but far preferred to whats also on the ground.
If you can find some punky wood to throw on the fire, the smoke will help to cut down (not eliminate) mosquitoes and gnats
Stupid ? I’m sure, but if you have a side arm, how do you keep it dry? And does it give you a false sense of security?
If you know you are going into a swampy area, you want to make sure you have CLP gun oil, and bring a condom and a rubberband if you are worried about water getting down in the barrel.
Otherwise, you just have to deal with the fact that you are in a swamp, and your gun is going to get wet. You could always just place it in a ziplock bag, but that doesn’t make it very convenient to shoot.
I fully agree with bill I trained in the jungle in Okinawa japan never been in a swamp but we were taught to get up off the ground to much stuff on the ground to get to you
Whoever wrote this article seems to never have spent time in the swamp in my opinion. On food: With that much water, I always got fish for food. Sleeping was always off of the ground rather than in a debris shelter. I like hammocks but I’ve also made raised platform sleeping areas. And, mosquitos are always a primary concern and so prevalent to have my attention until I either slathered in mud or built a smoky fire (when I didn’t have mosquito repellent). One disappointment was being bitten by mosquitos through a sweat shirt which I wore and sweated in to keep them off.
Always remember, if you have no compass, the moss ALWAYS grows thicker on the north side of the trees, this has saved me more than one time. I grew up in the swamp, not so worried about the rattlesnakes, it’s those cotton mouth water moccasins I watch for, normally they will have their mouths wide open making them easier to spot. Remember, stop, look, listen.
A 357 mag snub nose with 3 shot shell and 3 hollow points is best for snakes and gators or coyotes. Sleep in a tree hammock full coverage for mosquitoes spray bag with deet or any thing better,eat frogs and snakes you gig or shoot gig is better. The hammock 357, DEET and gig head plus cord weigh about 3 lbs and can fit in a fanny pack.