When you don’t know much about wilderness or surviving outdoors, you rely on things that your friends tell you, or things you heard in some conversation a long time ago. Sometimes those things are true, but often you remembered it wrong… Or maybe those are just wilderness myths that are passed along without anyone checking the facts. So, we are bringing you most common wilderness myths you shouldn’t believe.
5 Wilderness Myths You Shouldn’t Believe
Myth: Running water is potable water.
It is true that you have a bigger chance that running water will be potable, but that is not a fact. Even the fastest, clearest running stream could be home to waterborne illnesses. You should plan and have in your backpack, UV light or chlorine dioxide tablets the best way to filter the water .
Myth: You can suck the venom out of a snakebite.
This myth is maybe the most dangerous because it’s most spread of all wilderness myths. Sucking the venom out of the bite you can only make things worse. Snake venom spreads too rapidly through the lymphatic system, and you are putting your mouth on a bite introduces germs to the open wound, potentially causing an infection. The chance of dying from a snakebite, even from a notoriously poisonous snake like a copperhead or timber rattlesnake, is very low only 5-6% people in the United States die per year from a venomous snakebite. Of course that this statistic would be a lot worse if victims are not given a proper treatment in form of an antivenom as soon as possible.
Myth: Vultures circling means a dead animal is near.
Maybe the biggest wilderness myth we can thank the Hollywood is this. So many westerns and other movies where vultures only show up where there is the dead animal and start to circle it. Vultures and other birds of prey soar on thermal currents, warm streams of air that rise up from the hot ground. The heated, less dense air allows the birds to swiftly gain altitude and stay aloft without exerting much energy since they don’t have to flap their wings. When one bird finds a good updraft, other birds of prey will join, forming a kettle.
Myth: Moss grows predominantly on the north side of trees.
The sun travels overhead and slightly to the south in the Northern Hemisphere. Moss loves to stay in shady areas, so it follows that the northern side of a tree would be the best environment for it and there is where myth originates. But in the Southern Hemisphere, the sun’s arc is slightly to the north, making the southern side perfect place for moss. Even if you have vegetation that is not the same height, you can have a situation where the shady area will be on a completely different side than normal. And is not something you can rely as a bearing in nature.
Myth: All scorpions will kill you.
It is true that all scorpions contain venom, but not many are actually dangerous. Out of the 1,500 scorpion species in the world, 25 can have enough venom to kill a human. Only one of those, the Arizona bark scorpion, lives in the United States. Scorpions are not aggressive creatures, and the only sting when they feel threatened, like when they’re stepped on.