Wilderness Survival – How watching Wild Animals can Help you Survive

In a wilderness survival situation, animals can provide you with not only food but valuable knowledge of the environment around you. Animals are the ultimate experts at survival; they have perfectly adapted to their environment and can give you clues on what to do.

Frog on a Rock

Animals can signal when bad weather is coming

It seems some animals have a way of knowing exactly when bad weather will hit. For instance, when birds are flying high the weather is most likely clear; but once you see them dive down and start flying closer to the ground, it’s usually a pretty good indicator that bad weather is coming.

A lot of animals can sense changes in air pressure; for birds, the change in pressure causes them pain when flying at high altitudes. That means they instinctively fly closer to the ground right before an incoming storm system.

If they disappear completely, along with bees, then there is almost certainly a storm coming. The drop in pressure tells them to go to their hive or nest and prepare.

Animals can signal when danger is near

Animals can be a great early warning system, especially when other larger predators might be in the area.  Birds are like miniature emergency alert systems and can alert you to incoming problems.

For instance, Blue Jays will squawk at just about any threat, including anything moving around the woods too. They are the tattletales of the forest. A flushed pheasant, quail, and grouse make a lot of noise – if you didn’t flush it out, something else must have.

On the flip side, an absence of noise can also be a clue. Most animals will stop their activity if somethings not normal. Using the same reasoning, if you thought you heard/saw something, but see/hear the normal wildlife activity in that direction, then it’s probably safe to say it wasn’t a person or a large predator.

Animals can help you find sources of food and water

Just like people, animals require food, water, and shelter to survive. By keeping an eye on what the native animals are doing, you stand a much better chance of finding water and food sources.

But even if you don’t physically see the animals, they are leaving subtle signs that you need to watch for. For instance, converging animal tracks, consistent bird flight paths, and swarming insects can all point you to a nearby water source.

Some animals, like coyotes, will dig holes in areas with underground water. Watching for these seep holes can give you a good idea where you can dig your own water collecting seep.

A Word of Warning:

Most animals will eat a little bit of almost everything that’s out there, including a few bites of various toxic plants. So while watching wild animals can provide you with valuable knowledge of your environment, keep in mind some of them will eat plants that can be poisonous to you. It’s always a good idea to test anything before you eat it.

Resource for Finding and Procuring Food in the Wild:

  • Survivalist Guide to Traps: There are hundreds of different types of survival traps and snares that you can use to procure wild game. The best traps are usually simple to make and can be built with natural materials if you know what you’re doing.
  • Plastic Bottle Fishing Traps: Find out how to make a quick and easy fishing trap for capturing small bait fish and crawdads.
  • How to catch multiple fish in a Survival Situation: Learn how to make a simple Trotline, a type of passive fish trap that can catch multiple large fish at the same time.
Shirts of Liberty
The Ultimate Situational Survival Guide


  1. As an example of what we can learn from the animals, for one of the best techniques for keeping warm & building emergency shelters, go look at a squirrel’s nest.

  2. Im having a real hard time out here in the world,I had a business partership split that left me high-and-dry….and now Im having a real hard time getting back on my feet,Im alone with very few friends and family,Im worried that I might become homeless,and I just don’t know how to handle that. If i find myself homeless,I would try and go to the wilderness some where,any tip on the wilderness thing? thanks Mike.

    • hey mike my name is jeremiah. Im going out in the wilderness my self here in a while and am looking for someone to go with me. get back to me if your interested.

      • Hey, it’s a tough economy and it isn’t easy to find a job. He’s asking for advice helpful advice on wilderness survival which makes sence he would come here. No one wants to here your Bulls**t. And screw your “man up” crap I bet half the girls on here are tougher than you.

    • i think if u do that u need to do some survival reserch like books and videos and learn what u can use out in nature to aid in ur survival like porcupines they are slow and die easy so thats like 40 pounds of meat right there i would recomend 2 books 98.6 degrees by cody lundin and survive by les stroud also top 5 things to bring 1 a knife 2 shelter 3 a way to boil water 4 a way to make fire and 5 a way to hunt or fish
      good luck Mike

  3. Mike,

    Having lived a great deal of time homeless, I know a bit on surviving such a situation.

    1. Swallow your pride. Pride will not feed you, cloth you, keep you dry. Stand tall, keep your head up but know when to accept help. Work at McDonalds, temp jobs, any place that will pay you.

    2. Know your area. Stay in the city if you do not know the wilds, stay in the wilds if you do not know the cities. Know what resources are available to you. Know where the free resources are, food, shelter, clothing and medical care. If something is not available for free, learn where you can get it as cheap as possible. It was not uncommon, in my travels, to hit the dumpsters of grocery stores when I could not find food elsewhere and was seldom hungry for long.

    3. Travel as light as you can. It makes upkeep easier and less to keep an eye on. If you have to stay in a shelter you will want to be able to protect what you have from others wanting it more. When looking for or working you will not be burdened as much with your possessions or worry about keeping them in a safe place.

    4. Avoid the shifters. These are people who shack up together for as long as they can before they are evicted. Do not agree to paying half unless you know they are good for it. Support yourself and yourself only.

    5. Volunteer. An odd thing to add to this list but volunteering can get you quite a bit. During my time Homeless in Seattle, I volunteered to do security watch at the shelters I stayed in. This got me in while the others stood in long lines and I was never turned away as others had been. If I missed a day, I didn’t have to start over because they knew I was worth my salt, so to speak and when perks were available, I was always included in them because of my willingness to volunteer.

    6. Do not dwell on the past and what you had. This is one of two serious problems newly homeless face, the other is keeping to old ways. What you had is no more, dwelling on it will keep you from looking forward and dealing with the present. What you did in the past cannot be done in the present. Hitting up Starbucks because you have a few extra bucks, smoking packs a day, eating only name brands, dressing in the best only. Doing this will not only drain anything you may may have, but it will also fuel the feeling of loss you will be hit with when you cannot keep it up.

    7. And stay away from drugs and alcohol. If you have to stay in a shelter, you will see all too well the logic behind this.

    I hope you never need to use this advice and things improve.

  4. look for hotels with ‘happy hours’ like Holiday Inn, whereyou buy one drink (coke/7up is OK) and sit around for two hours gobbling up their tacos or other offerings.

  5. I wonder what job you had in the past and how you could use those skills to find work. There are free resources out there as well to help you with you and assistance with gas to get to interviews, JobCorps also here in Florida there is a website called Employflorida.com that has thousands of jobs available and you can post your resume.
    also, what about extended family? It seems its always been a punchline how, for instance, Chinese families live in a one room apartment but there are 8 people living there. My point is, as a nation, we need to realize that we have a responsibility to take care of our own. We need to learn to be ‘uncomfortable’ for the sake of the bigger picture. A two bedroom apartment or home can fit a family of 12!! If every adult in that situation had a job that paid $8/hr. And lets say there are 6 adults..thats $48/hr being brought into the home! If we focused more on bringing our elderly parents, siblings and their families together we could work together and hopefully chip away at the enormous amount of poverty that is flowing over this country like a tsunami. Government jobs have grown and taxes will have to go up to pay those salaries, so as a people we need to say enough and stop relying on big brother, whomever he may be, and start at home.
    Good luck and please find, dig, beg for other options than hitting the streets. You can be so much more than that.

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