Read the two book extracts carefully and answer the questions that follow each extract. Use your own words throughout as far as possible.

A plentiful of good water is most important in hot jungle country. There is little movement of the air and you sweat profusely, especially if you are travelling. Drink several quarts of water every day to maintain your efficiency. You can live for weeks without food but you can’t survive long without water. A person of average weight needs at least two quarts of water a day. Dehydration2 leads to decreased efficiency, a feeling of fatigue and ultimately to death. When you find a good source of water, drink plenty (even if you are not thirsty) and carry as much with you as you can.

In most rain forests, you will find adequate water in streams, springs, and pools. The main problem is one of purity. No surface water should be drunk without being boiled or chemically treated. Don’t try any shortcuts3; the few minutes spent purifying water may save you weeks of illness or even save your life. Boil the water for 2 minutes at sea level plus one minute for each additional 1,000 feet of altitude.

Rainwater is  safe to drink and can be conveniently caught in a parachute cloth stretched between trees or in containers made from large leaves or bamboo. The taste of rainwater can be improved by aeration—simply pour the water from one container to another. When no surface water is available, you have to investigate other possible water sources. Getting water from plants is one of the easiest ways. In the rain forest, the big ropelike vines or lianas that hang down from the tree are full of water. To get the water, select a good-sized vine and cut off a section five to six feet long, making the top cut first. Then hold it at head height and let the water drain into your mouth. A six-foot section will contain about half a glass of cool water. Grapevine also contains pure water and may be extracted in the same way. Bamboo, too, is a useful source of water, the hollow stem serving as a reservoir. Observe one important rule always: Never drink from a vine that has a milky sap.

The branches and trunks of many trees support air plants which are capable of producing water. The rainwater collects in the cuplike hollows at the base of the leaves and remains there for a long time. The water is safe to drink without purifying it, although you may have to strain out a few ants and bugs. Unfortunately, most of these rain-catchers are high in the trees and inaccessible without climbing.

Another important source of water in the tropics is the coconut. The green unripe nuts are a bountiful source of liquid and contain nearly a pint of water.

Animal Food
In any survival situation, the question of locating food will be extremely important but is much less vital than the task of finding water. It may not be pleasant to contemplate but in an emergency you will find that many unconventional creatures are edible and are eaten by the local inhabitants, who are experts in knowing how to live off the land. In the process, you will have to forget many of your civilised prejudices8.

There is plenty of good food in the tropics, enough to sustain you almost indefinitely. There is food from plants and trees, and there are animals, birds, fish, snakes, and lizards of many kinds. All of them are good to eat. The meat from the hindquarters and tail of the lizard makes a delicious meal. The iguana is also a delicacy much sought after by jungle gourmets. All jungle animals should be cooked in order to kill the parasites and improve the taste.

All snakes are edible but they are not found as frequently as is commonly supposed. They taste much like the white meat of chicken although the flesh is a bit stringy and slightly salty. In preparing snakes and lizards skin, remove the viscera, and cook as you would any other meat.

In the dense rain forest, most of the animals are  high in the trees, out of sight and reach. There are few animals on the forest floor. Usually it is limited to land crabs, land turtles, lizards, and snakes. The larger animals and birds of the rain forest make the best eating in an emergency but they are difficult to catch. Most people will walk through a tropical forest without ever seeing game of any kind even though it10 may be there in considerable abundance. Too much reliance should not be placed on the larger animals as a source of food11.

In the clearing and areas of secondary growth where there is good cover, animals like deer, squirrels, tapirs, anteaters, and monkeys may be found. The basic principle in hunting these animals is to look for signs of their presence. Keep an eye open for tracks, trails, disturbed leaves, fresh droppings. partly eaten food or other evidence that animals have been in the vicinity.

For many centuries, desperate people have been driven to migrate as their only of survival. Religious or racial persecution has forced many people to endure the trauma, hardship, and uncertainties of migration rather than stay and face torture or death. A very real fear of starvation has sent millions of hungry people moving from east to west. In more recent times, millions of families are on the move simply to try to improve their position in life and to escape from a life of continual hardship and humiliation. They are aware that their expectation of life1 in a new country may be double the average in their country of origin.

From early in the 17th century onwards, a growing stream of hopeful Europeans fled to America to practise their religion and start a new life away from repressive regimes2 at home. Some died as pioneers: sometimes through illness and sometimes as a result of wars with American Indians or in their own Civil War. The survivors moved inland—always to the west—until most of N. America from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean had been explored and was available for settlement. These early pioneers were later joined by former slaves and others from Africa. Then countless migrants (mainly of Hispanic origin arrived from Mexico and South America. Migration to Canada and the USA continues today. Periodically, an understanding3 government declares an amnesty for the benefit of the millions of migrants who entered North America illegally.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, a steadily increasing stream of Chinese migrants left their impoverished homes in China, often forced out by lengthy periods of drought or floods. Prevented by inhospitable4 mountains and deserts from moving directly westward, they turned to the south-west and settled in Malaya, Singapore, or Indonesia before moving on to Europe and North America.

In modern times, virtually every British town has two or more Chinese restaurants; Chinese food is sold in every supermarket and is extremely popular. Somewhat similarly, Indian migrants from East Africa (where they were forced out by an envious Ugandan dictator) joined other immigrants from India and sought homes in the West. Without grumbling unduly, British people have seen their comer shops taken over by industrious migrants who are prepared to work long hours to make a success of their new homes in a foreign country.

In the vast majority of cases, migration has proved peaceful and profitable for both the host country and the hard-working immigrants. The ‘invasion’ has been accomplished without bloodshed, and the ‘invaders’ have contributed to the prosperity of their adopted country.

(adapted from ‘The Survival Book’ by Paul H. Nesbitt, Alonzo W. Pond, and William H. A; published by Funk and Wagnall)


1 Why is water more important than food in the jungle?

2 What does ‘dehydration’ mean in this context?

3 What does ‘shortcuts’ refer to in this context?

4 How can we purify stream water at a height of 5,000 feet?

5 What treatment is necessary before we drink rainwater?

6 The survivor of a crash has found a large vine and wants to obtain water from it. What two precautions are necessary to enable him to obtain drinking water?

7 What idea contained in the information about water is repeated in the information about animal food?

8 What are the ‘prejudices’ that the writer has in mind?

9 What keeps most animals safe from hunters in the jungle?

10 What does ‘it’ refer to?

11 ‘Too much reliance should not be placed on the larger animals as a source of food.’ Why not?

12 In a paragraph of about 160 words, summarise relevant information from this extract about the sources of water and food in the jungle for the survivor of a plane crash.

1 Explain the meaning of ‘their expectation of life’.

2 Which word in the fourth paragraph gives an example of the ‘repressive regimes’?

3 What does the writer imply by calling the government ‘understanding’?

4 What does ‘inhospitable’ mean in this context, and how did this quality affect migrants from China?

Sample Answers

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