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Find Food For Survival

Updated on November 9, 2012

How To Find Food For Survival

Finding Food Sources in a Survival Situation

Once you find yourself in a survival situation, food soon becomes a priority.

The average person can survive up to three weeks without food however, just a few days without nourishment reduces your energy level making it difficult to perform much-needed tasks. Additionally, there is a psychological effect of not having available food.

Food is a comfort and it will reduce stress levels. Food gives a person hope and something to look forward to in a crisis.

Food Sources

All mammals are considered edible, although the liver in certain arctic predators cannot be consumed because of the toxic levels of vitamin A that is stored there. Arctic seals have high levels of vitamin A and any predator such as a polar bear that consumes the seals will store toxic levels of the vitamin in their liver.

All fresh water fish are edible. All birds are edible with one exception and that is the Pitohui bird, which is only found in New Guinea. Lizards and reptiles to include snakes can be consumed by humans with two exceptions and they are the Gila monster and the Mexican beaded lizard. Turtles can be eaten and many find them a delicacy with two exceptions, and they are the Box Turtle and the Hawksbill Turtle. Box turtles feed on mushrooms that are toxic to humans and the toxin will be in the turtles flesh. The Hawksbill turtle has toxins in its glands that can contaminate the flesh making the flesh poisonous to humans. Avoid salamanders all together because 75 percent of them are poisonous to humans.


Eating raw meats and fish can cause illness from bacteria and parasites.

All food must be thoroughly cooked to destroy all food borne contaminates.

Lizards, snakes, and other reptiles carry harmful bacteria in their saliva and on their skin so take precautions when handling.

Survival Foods To Buy

Why not stock up on some of these survival foods now


Fishing by far is the quickest and easiest way to obtain food.

You can catch fish by hand, spearing, netting and by using the traditional hook, line and pole. You can fashion fishing poles, spears and hooks from forest and urban debris, and fishing line can be shoelaces, twisted strips of plastic bags, and even strips of clothing.

Fishhooks can be made from buttons, wood, pins, needles and the metal pop tops from soda cans. These items can be found virtually anywhere. Fresh water fish can be found in public ponds and lakes in an urban area and in streams, rivers and lakes in a wilderness environment.

Bait can be worms, grubs, crickets, peanut butter and any food you may have with you.

Bobbers can be made from pieces of Styrofoam, plastic bottle caps and even cloth. Use pop tops for spoons or any other shiny object. Sinkers can be a small stone secured to the line or any object with weight to it.

Insects As A Food Source

Field crickets can be found in almost all environments and they can be eaten once the head is removed and the cricket cooked. Removing the head also removes the insects' entrails and thus, you may remove any parasites.

Crickets contain the tapeworm parasite and the only way to destroy the parasites is by roasting or boiling the cricket. Skewer the insects and slowly turn over a fire.

Field crickets are brown and black. Earthworms, grubs, ants and termites are a delicacy in many cultures and they can be eaten raw in an emergency. Some people place the worms in a glass jar and wait for the earthworm to excrete its waste before eating. You can also place the insects in boiling water to make a broth.

Avoid fuzzy and brightly colored insects or insects with a foul odor, because some are toxic. Scorpions can be eaten once the stinger is removed but it is recommended to avoid stinging or biting insects unless your situation is dire.

Don't Die Out There - Learn What You Can (and can't) Eat

Great idea to use playing cards for learning wilderness survival tactics

The Don't Die Out There! Deck
The Don't Die Out There! Deck

Topics are organized by card suit--Diamonds: survival essentials, signals, locating your position, and shelters; Spades: assessing the situation, water, fire, food, and evacuation techniques; Hearts: basic first aid, hypothermia, frostbite, heat illness, and sprains and dislocations; Clubs: CPR, head and spine injuries, fractures, bites and stings, and evacuating the injured


A myth is that if a bird or animal is eating it then it is safe for humans, this is NOT CORRECT!

Great To Keep Nearby

Why not throw some of these in your bag or your glovebox as you never know when you might need survival foods

Edible Plants - First off, never eat any plant or fruit unless you are sure you know what it is.

Simply showing pictures or describing a plant is not enough information for you to make an informed decision. There is a lot of information and myths on the Internet about edible plants. Unlike mammals, reptiles or fish, which are easily identifiable, plants, can have common characteristics, which make them difficult to identify. Many plants are quite similar in appearance yet one is toxic and the other may be edible.

One myth is that if a bird or animal is eating the berry or plant then it is safe for humans, this is not true.

As a rule, 90 percent of white or yellow berries are poisonous to humans, so it is recommended you do not eat any berries unless you know for sure they are the common blackberry, elderberry, and blueberry, red raspberry or wild strawberry.

Edible nuts such as black walnuts are easily recognizable as well as, pinyon nuts, pecans and hickory nuts.

Pine nuts can be harvested from pinecones at certain times of the year. The cone must not have opened up yet and is just turning from green to brown. Place the cone near heat to force the cone to open and reveal the pine nuts. Place the nuts on a hot rock to roast.

Avoid mushrooms unless you have years of experience and even experienced mushroom hunters have died from eating the wrong mushroom.

Edible Wild Food Cards - Great Way To Learn What You Can Eat In A Survival Situation

Wild Cards: Edible Wild Foods (All Ages)
Wild Cards: Edible Wild Foods (All Ages)

These cards include the following

Aloe | Amaranth | Arrowhead | Aster | Birch | Blackberry | Blueberry | Bulrush | Burdock | Cattail | Chamomile | Chickweed | Chicory | Cholla | Daisy | Dandelion | Dock | Fir Balsam | Fireweed | Goldenrod | Grape | Lamb's Quarters | Mallow | Maple | Meadowsweet | Milkweed | Mint | Mullein | Mustard | Nettle | Phragmites | Pine | Plantain | Prickly Pear | Primrose | Puslane | Queen Anne's Lace | Raspberry | Red Clover | Rose | Saguaro | Shepherd's Purse | Sumac | Sunflower | Thistle | Thyme | Violet | White Clover | Wild Lettuce | Wild Strawberry | Willow | Wintergreen | Yarrow


Important Message

It is vital that you also do your own research and never take what you read at face value. The information contained in this article is for informational purpose only. The information contained here is a starting point and there is no substitute for firsthand knowledge. It is recommended you practice your wilderness and urban survival techniques in a controlled environment where a mistake is not life threatening.

I Would Love To Hear Your Comments

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    • CoffeeDude LM profile image

      CoffeeDude LM 

      6 years ago

      Cool lens. In college I had a class called interesting and edible plants. Our project was meal in a pond. We got published in New Jersey Outdoor Magazine. Love this stuff!

    • veronicatarantino profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow..very cool lens.

      I would probably die in an hour if left in the wilderness

    • Sara Dowling profile imageAUTHOR

      Sara Dowling 

      6 years ago

      @EEWorkouts: Thank you EEWorkouts, I have added the suvival playing cards - they look like a very cool idea for kids (and everyone) to learn what is safe to eat

    • Sara Dowling profile imageAUTHOR

      Sara Dowling 

      6 years ago

      @EEWorkouts: Thanks for that, I will take a look now!

    • EEWorkouts profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens! I have a deck of cards somewhere that shows you edible plants. Would be a cool thing to include if you can find it.

    • theallin1writer profile image


      6 years ago

      I am also familiar with "if animals eat this, you can too." Now I know this isn't always a good idea! Thanks for the info!


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