Summary: Finding food in a tropical forest can be a challenge if you do not know how to distinguish edible plants, fruits and insects from the inedible ones.
If you find yourself stranded in a tropical jungle, then water and food are the two most important things that you need for survival. Finding water is not so difficult in a tropical jungle. But, finding food can be a problem. Your options would be restricted to plants, fruits and some meat if you are able to kill any of the animals inhabiting the jungle. Of course, if you are able to find some sort of river stream or watering hole, you may find some fishes which you have to catch. If you are not averse to eating insects, then you can find some non-poisonous insects which you can consume.
Even if the jungle is filled with lots of plants and trees, you cannot eat whatever fruit or plant that you come across. Not all plants or fruits in a tropical forest are edible. Some plants and fruits may be even toxic and can cause you harm.
Some Rules for Avoiding Inedible/Toxic Plants or Fruits
– If you come across any plant consisting of yellow colored or white colored berries, avoid the plant or berries altogether.
– Stay away from Mushrooms at all costs even though not all of them are toxic.
– Thorny plants and plants or trees with shiny leaves must be avoided.
– Plants consisting of umbrella-shaped flowers must also be avoided.
There is something called university edibility test which can be used to find the edibility of plants in the forest. Remove any part of a plant and rub it against the inside part of your wrist. You can also rub it against the inside of your elbow. You need to do the rubbing for 15 minutes. After around 8 hours, if you find some reaction such as redness or a burning sensation in the area in which you rubbed, then it is a sign that the plant must be avoided.
If you are lucky, you can find fruits such as mango or banana growing in trees in tropical forests. It is not uncommon to find papaya trees as well in tropical jungles. Coconut trees also grow in some tropical jungles.
If you want to eat something that is rich in protein, then you have to go for animal meat or fish. If you are too afraid to kill animals or if you are not skilled enough to catch a fish, then you can go for insects which are also a good source of protein. However, you may want to stay away from insects that are brightly colored. Insects with pungent odour must also be avoided. You don’t even want to touch hairy insects which can sting.