People Share Survival Myths That Can Actually Get Someone Killed
Chase Baker on Unsplash

People can learn a lot from movies, but it would be wise for audiences to take any imparted wisdom with a grain of salt.


A majority of blockbusters are fiction of course, and even films loosely based on real-life stories can have false information unless a notable director is helming the picture.

To show that some popular beliefs people believe to be true can be dangerously spurious, Redditor kuroi_sny asked:

"What survival myth is completely wrong and can get you killed?"

The desert is beautiful. But it can also kill you. Beware of the following myths.

Nourishment From Desert

"Drinking water from a cactus. If absolutely needed for survival, you could get some water out of a Fishhook Barrel Cactus but only in limited amounts, most cactuses have various acids and other fun things in the water that will make you sh*t yourself to death, dehydration in the desert isn't a laughing matter and you don't want to lose the precious bit of water left in your body to the desert ground."

– Kraymur

The Intense, Dry Heat

“'The desert is hot and little clothing is best.' Cover up during both the day and the night. The sun will burn you and dehydrate you very quickly. During the night it’s really common for people to die of hypothermia because the temperature drops so fast. And honestly living here, during the winter it gets to the low 20s f pretty often. And the wind is awful."

"Edit to add: it’s dry heat here. There’s no moisture in the air majority of the year. You can drop dead from heat stroke 'barely' sweating."

– Curious_Wrangler_980

Leave It To The Pros

"Most of the stuff Bear Grylls does. Like eating raw meat, picking and eating fruit out of bear sh*t, or squeezing the juice out of elephant sh*t and drinking it."

– DemocracySausage89

Deadly Eats

"You cannot eat everything that an animal can eat. There are things animals can eat that humans find toxic, so eating everything you see animals eating can lead to you potentially eating deadly berries or mushrooms."

– lordbeezlebub

In the face of immediate danger, you may want to unlearn these popular "tips."

See Ya Later Alligator

"Running in a zigzag to outrun an alligator. Alligators don't run for long distances, so this will probably just waste your energy. They can also climb some fences and trees as well."

– TchaikenNugget

Seal Yourself In

“'If you’re in a tornado, open all your windows to equalize the pressure inside to match the outside.'”

"If you’re in a tornado opening any window or door will create a wind tunnel that rips your entire roof off."

– NightOnF'kMountain

Lightning Pattern

"Lightning never strikes twice in the same place."

"If lightning has found a path that it likes to the ground it's extremely likely to strike there multiple times. That why lightning rods work."

– CatboyInAMaidOutfit

When Encountering Jaws

"If a shark is coming after you, swim away."

"If a shark is coming towards you in the first place, it's most likely just curious and wants to check you out. Swimming away and thrashing about will further intrigue it to keep following you. Instead, redirect it by running your hand along its side and carefully positioning it to swim away from you."

"(Side note: If one happens to bite you, poke/stab it in the eyes or pull on its gills instead of bopping it in the nose. Gills and eyes are far more sensitive than a shark's nose.)"

– swaggy_kyu

When Falling From The Sky

"If your plane is crashing, an inflatable raft makes a TERRIBLE parachute."

– shaka_sulu

Cinematic Example

"But hiding in a fridge will save me from a nuclear blast though, right?"

– Stevotonin

What Happens After

"That you can give somebody CPR and they'll be fine moments later like nothing happened."

– Q8Q

No Coming Back From This

"You can survive a Moose attack."

"That's it, that's the myth, because no you f'king can't."

– TheWelshExperience

Are you lost? You won't be found as easily if you fall for these unfounded suggestions.

Change Your Voicemail When Distressed

"That bullsh*t 'change your voicemail if you are lost' PSA that was making the rounds over the last year. You need a cell signal to change your voicemail, if you have a signal then why wouldn't you just call for help?"

"Moreover it misses the most important thing about US cell phones and being lost: 911 will work on any cell tower regardless if it's 'in network' or even if you have an active phone plan or not. So in an emergency always TRY dialing 911 regardless of your phone appears to have signal or not."

"EDIT: To the dozens of people who replied that you are supposed to change your voicemail before going out, this is still a bad idea. If you're lost or injured in the woods, your survival depends on being found quickly. Waiting for someone to get worried enough about you not coming back to try calling you is just going to waste precious time. It's much better to just tell your friends/family where you will be and set up a check-in time so they know you made it back safely."

– Histidine

Getting Your Bearings

"That moss grows on the north side of a tree. It can grow all over the tree, so it’s not a steadfast rule that you should make important decisions solely on."

– dildorthegreat87

No Banquet In The Forest

"That you’ll be totally safe if you only eat plants/fungi you recognize. Hemlock looks a lot like wild parsnips. Basically all wild almonds will kill you if you eat more than one. And of course there’s the Chris mccandless 'potato seed' thing."

– Redqueenhypo

Debate On An Outdoorsman's Death

"Chris McCandless is the subject of the book/movie 'Into the Wild.' He died alone in the Alaskan wilderness. He’s a pretty controversial figure in the outdoor world. Some people think he is inspirational and died not due to lack of knowledge or training but to a fluke, some think he is an idiot who got himself killed by not being prepared or knowledgeable. Basically he ate something toxic and died. It’s been a long time since I’ve looked into it but there was a very lively debate about what he ate that killed him. From what I remember some think he misidentified a plant and accidentally ate a poisonous plant, some say he ate a plant that’s perfectly fine in limited quantities and if you are in good health, some say he ate a plant that is not itself poisonous but does sometimes grow a poisonous fungus on it."

– The_Mighty_Pato

Just in case you're planning a solo hike in the desert or go scuba diving in uncharted waters of the deep, your newly acquired knowledge here could save your life, thanks to these anonymous Redditors.

It's a good reminder to double check on the things you've heard to be true to get a solid confirmation.

A brief research can literally be a matter of life or death.

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