When in an emergency survival situation were you don't have access to clean or at least "okay" water but to wildlife (or it is at least easier to grab a snake for example than to gather water), is it a good idea to drink blood to avoid dehydration?

  • If you have access to wild game then you don't need to drink blood. There will be enough water in the meat you eat to keep you alive under most circumstances. Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 17:21
  • You shouldn't eat when dehydration can become a problem! If you have nothing to drink, then do not eat. Eating anything, even watery foods, takes water from your system to create the slurry that will be able to move through your GI tract.
    – OddDeer
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 19:00
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    I don't believe that's true. People have survived solely on raw fish while stranded at sea. Your GI tract reclaims excess water, which is why stools are not normally diarrhea. So any water your body happens to add plus any water contained in the food will be reabsorbed in your large intestine, the net result being a water gain. You'd have to show me a credible source to believe otherwise. Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 19:27
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    @CareyGregory Thanks for the input. I've created a question regarding this topic: outdoors.stackexchange.com/questions/13363/… :) Hope it's okay, that I've quoted parts of your comments.
    – OddDeer
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 11:24

1 Answer 1


While various sources suggest drinking some blood in emergency will help, the risks outweigh the benefits.

From 5 Myths of Dehydration:

Sure, there’s water in blood. But whose or what’s blood are you planning to drink? Some of the traditional cattle cultures of Africa still consume cattle blood, often blended with milk. But this is done for protein and minerals, rather than hydration... While the consumption of turtle blood and other animal blood has helped to keep oceanic castaways alive, the risk doesn’t usually justify the gain. Drinking the raw blood of any creature could result in the contraction of a pathogen.

As most animals that you are likely to catch need water, use this as a brief stopgap (a few days) while you find their water source, which is hopefully not too far away.

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    Not only pathogens. There was a suggestion that in large quantities could lead to iron poisoning (blood foods typical of some countries like the blood soups, curd, etc can give that problem if you eat too much of them, tourists are often advised about that particularly if they use regularly iron supplements already) although a researcher that interviewed several people that drink plain blood said noone of them ever complained of any problem. So maybe its wise to not drink too much and maybe pick an anemic snake. Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 12:56
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    @Erik vanDoren Can we now anticipate a question on how to identify an anemic snake?
    – ab2
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 19:16
  • @ab2, yes, I guess the answer would be the pale ones? ;) Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 20:49

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