1. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    How Lethal Are Jungles?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Killer300, Apr 9, 2013.

    Basically, if someone was thrown into a jungle, and I mean deep into a jungle so they can't get out easily, how rapidly would they die? Assume they have no training on how to survive in a jungle. The only things they know about jungles are what one could quickly skim off wikipedia, if that.

    Sorry if this is in the wrong forum, but I'm toying with this as a setting, and am wondering... well, how lethal is it? Can it kill you in days, if not less, from a combination of dangerous creatures, and perhaps, dehydration? Or am I overestimating how dangerous they are?
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Why not do some research?
     
  3. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Even if real jungles are more harmless than we think, good settings in books are typically Larger than Life. It should feel very dangerous to the reader, because more danger usually means better story. Also, if you're using 3rd limited, then that means the description is more how dangerous the character perceives the jungle to be, and this could be much more dangerous than it really is, especially if they are untrained and/or terrified.
     
  4. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Five days with no training. Though, I doubt they'd live through the night.
     
  5. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Thank you! Was looking for a good estimate.:)

    True, true.
     
  6. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Survival rules of 3:
    3 minutes without air
    3 hours without shelter at night (average)
    3 days without water
    3 weeks without food

    I think 5 days is a good estimate, although I think with enough intelligence and luck and a knife, people can probably survive a lot longer. (Need the knife for jaguars).
     
  7. Terralala
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    Terralala Member

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    Do they have any tools? anything to collect clean water with? if not then three-five days would be my max estimate. Malaria, snakes, spiders, large animals like panthers would all get their try at the "prey" before they even have to worry about getting food and water. What is their knowledge of poisonous plants? if it isn't very good they might want to watch what they eat and if they make it through a night or two and don't have anything to collect water with they risk getting a water born illness from stagnant water sources.

    A quick Google search comes up with a lot of information plus you will want to search for specifics depending on where your story is set, not all jungles are the same and pose the same threats.
     
  8. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Well Sh*t howdy...! No one said he had a knife!

    Though still..snakes, insects, hypothermia and infection are killers.
     
  9. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    "No training" and "no knife" are very different.

    In the end, it's up to you how long they last. You can put them through all kinds of misery right away and they could die day 1, or you could put them through all kinds of misery and they could live past day 30.
     
  10. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Course. Thanks guys, I was just trying to figure out some general things you guys helped with well.:)
     
  11. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    What Jungle? The Amazon is a lot different to Cambodia. How smart are they? How determined are they? Survival is more about mental strength than it is physical strength or even experience. What season is it? How did they get there? Do they have injuries? Do they have any resources? A 15 year old girl survived being alone in the Amazon after a plane crash, for several weeks with no tools, no training and no experience. Trained soldiers have died within days from diseases and exposure.

    Basically: There are no rules on how long someone will survive.
     
  12. La_Donna
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    La_Donna Member

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    I definitely agree with this. For example in the jungles of Madagascar there is nothing poisonous, whereas in the Amazon there definitely is (I know it sounds crazy but it is true - poison never evolved in Madagascar). You have to define the terms of the jungle before you work out how long someone would survive there)
     
  13. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    Piece of string. Depends if they can find water/food/shelter. And if you want them to die.

    A clueless person in your setting with little mental agility would probably succumb within three days - if not from wild animals - then thirst. After that, it would depend on so many variables - availability of food/shelter/tools/protection. A desire to survive et. al.

    Put Bear Grylls on a desert island without the means to extract water - unless he caught fish and sucked the water out of their eyes - he'd soon be dead.

    Your character will be dead within three days unless you allow him to live. :eek:

    Check out Maslow's Needs Heirarchy - you could write in that sort of perspective.
     
  14. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    the piece of string is interesting - so too is not just which jungle but which era. Is your jungle full of dinosaurs? Zombies? Half dozen kittens?

    Are they trained soldiers with disease or infection being airlifted fron Vietnam and forced to crash land or are they a bus load of school children on a field trip?

    Like someone said, Bear Grylls would squeeze urine from a turd and absail down a cliff using his own genitalia.

    Being free of disease I'd like to think I'd last for ages in the jungle. I think I'd have enough about me to catch and eat small animals, sieve water with a shirt and make my way to some form of civilisation.
     
  15. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Not very long - you'd have a hard time finding a source of water. With the effort of travel and maybe climbing trees, digging for roots etc, you will last maybe 3 days max. You'd be freezing cold at night - esp in a jungle, I'm imagining rainforest of sorts, you get lots of rain, torrents of it. You'd probably catch a fever in no time. Predators hunt at night and with nothing to conceal you, you're dead anyway. Or just imagine the array of creatures so well camouflaged that you step on it before you notice, and the thing strikes and oops, it's poisonous. You'll be dead in hours, maybe even minutes.

    If nothing else, I'd say eating the wrong thing is going to kill you the quickest. You're hungry, you haven't had food in a whole day, maybe two, you see some berries - what are the chances of you eating them? You see some other creatures eating them. They must be ok. And bam, you're dead. It's not just fruit, but leaves and flowers etc. Even touching the wrong thing could give you a rash or cut, you have no way of washing the cut, you're touching wood and earth and plants with a fresh cut. What are the chances of infection? Quite high, I'd venture.

    From what I gather, the people who live in these kind of places are not "at one with nature" - they're terrified of nature. And these are the locals who know the jungles and its routes and what to eat and what not to eat.
     
  16. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Mckk - was that aimed at me? It all depends on the jungle - doesn't the amazon have a fresh water river running right through it? What time of day is it? Do we have time to break branches and make a tent? What's the weather like? Tropical rain shower or melting hot sun? Are we in the barest of shorts or id that part of the jungle littered with suitcases from the doomed plane we had to parachute out of?

    We have no idea of the OP's scenario
     
  17. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Hey erebh - nope, it wasn't aimed at you at all, was just answering the OP's questions.

    But now that you ask all those questions :D It would be hard to find the river - how would you locate the river in the first place? You'd need some kind of wildlife knowledge for this, surely - something on the lines of following animal trails or testing soil quality for moisture, or whatnots (just guessing here). Otherwise, how would you orientate yourself AND find a river, whose location is unknown to you?

    Breaking branches has its own hazards. Many branches have small thorns. Worse, it's true it depends on where you are, but I remember watching a survival documentary and - I don't remember which jungle this is now - but the guy showed 2 types of trees. One type is hollow and has fresh running water inside - that's how you'd survive, you'd try and find one of these trees.

    But the other type - it is also hollow. The guy broke off a thin branch. Out poured - ants. Thousands of black ants ready to attack any intruders.

    Now imagine breaking the wrong tree :rolleyes: You're holding a section of the branch. By the time you've let go, enough ants have probably swarmed over you to give you hundreds of rather painful bites. It might not kill you necessarily, but it's not exactly a point towards your survival.

    Both tropical rain showers and scorching hot sun would kill. However the showers would allow you to drink, if you had a container.

    Anyway, all in all, of course I agree with you that it depends on what kind of jungle this is and where it is :D but as a general thing, I'd say the chances of survival are minimal wherever you are, whichever jungle you find yourself in. Without poisons, you'd likely die of dehydration. Even if there's nothing specifically poisonous, though, it doesn't mean it won't be poisonous for humans to consume.
     
  18. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Too bad about the plethora of survival stories. And of coarse those communities who lived in the jungle for thousands of years.

    The Jungle is nowhere near as lethal as popular fiction makes out. But you do need your wits about you.

    Go down hill.
     
  19. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've been doing that for years.... :(
     
  20. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    Nope. That's Chuck Norris. :D
     
  21. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Interesting name for a stuck-in-the-jungle scenario :)
     
  22. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that!
     
  23. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Wait, huh? I think I maybe remember reading about that, but not how it worked out.

    But to everyone, my idea is that the character is somewhere nature has conquered. Jungles seem to represent that quite well, as well as how terrifying that can be. I asked about how lethal they are because... well, trying to figure out how to perhaps kill off said character if needed.:p

    Regardless, thanks guys!:)
     
  24. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    How cold will the nights be? I googled a bit and the lowest estimate I found for nights during winter was 10C/50F which is pretty survivable if you have other clothes than just your Borat swimming trunks. As has been said, most of it depends on the characters mentality: a strong-willed person will have pretty good chances of surviva (esp.if they have a proper outfit and even the barest essentials, like a knife not to mention a lighter) while a weak-minded individual will likely kick the bucket pretty soon.
     
  25. GingerCoffee
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    How to Survive in the Jungle.

    Water is key. Large predators, poisonous plants, insects & animals vary with location. I believe food would not be easy to come by without knowledge and skills.

    Insects would definitely be annoying even if not deadly.

    Jungles are pretty much in the tropics. Cold would be a very unlikely problem, heat would be a very common one. There's little breeze in a jungle so even though there is plenty of shade, the heat is still likely to be unbearable to someone not used to it. A jungle on the coast would be an exception if you were near the ocean because there would be cool breezes mitigating the heat.
     

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