Travel Blogs


The Human Animal’s 5 Basic Survival Needs

As our planet’s most physiologically complex organism, the human animal still shares basic survival needs with many any other mammals and even lower organisms.  As a mammal, thus, the human animal requires these 5 things for long term survival:

    • oxygen
    • hydration
    • food
    • shelter
    • sleep

OXYGENImage result for The Humans 5 Basic Survival Needs

This pretty much requires no explanation.  Everyone is aware of how important oxygen is to survival.  While the human body can be trained to survive a minute (or several, in some cases) without oxygen, it is designed for constant respiration.  This means that even though you can hold your breath, it is extremely uncomfortable; and that is because our survival instinct is to continue breathing.
It is autonomic human behavior.

While the lungs perform the act of breathing, the lack of oxygen affects the brain more harshly.  If you go 15 minutes without oxygen (you might be breathing another gas, for example) it could result in irreparable brain damage.


When you remember that the human body is about 60 percent water, it is pretty easy to identify how important water is to survival.  Water is important for circulation, digestion, and “lubrication” of the joints, bones, and even the air passages.  The average person can only survive about 5 days without water, but every situation is different.

FOODImage result for The Humans 5 Basic Survival Needs

Technically, you don’t need “food;” technically you need “nutrients.” And you get nutrients—vitamins, minerals, fiber, calories—from the things you eat. And when you don’t use all the calories you eat, your body stores them as fat.  When you need extra calories your body will convert fat stores to calories.  This means that the amount of time you can survive without food can fluctuate depending upon the physical demand for calories and your fat storage. On average, a human can survive a few weeks without food but even without food, humans typically die of poor health that arises from malnutrition than from actual “starvation.”


Ok, so you don’t actually need “shelter.” However, the better you can protect yourself from the elements (and other dangers) the longer you can survive.  Shelter can also keep your food supplies (et al) safe and dry to increase your chances for survival.


Similarly, you cannot die from lack of sleep.  Eventually your body will shut down and force you to sleep.  However, the longer you go without sleep, the harder it can be to focus and catalog information, which can complicate survival.