Found on the Internet: CDC Addresses the Zombie Apocalypse

It’s a been a popular subject for the past few years and the US Center for Disease Control has finally jumped on board.  Writer Ali S. Khan wrote a post on the CDC’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Blog about how to survive during a zombie outbreak:

The rise of zombies in pop culture has given credence to the idea that a zombie apocalypse could happen. In such a scenario zombies would take over entire countries, roaming city streets eating anything living that got in their way. The proliferation of this idea has led many people to wonder “How do I prepare for a zombie apocalypse?”

Well, we’re here to answer that question for you, and hopefully share a few tips about preparing for real emergencies too!

[Social Media: Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse] via CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response Blog

How to Make Animal Traps

At this point, it should be obvious that it is a universal truth that food will be incredibly scarce (unless you’re incredibly lucky or well prepared).  You have to accept that you will inevitably have to gather or hunt any food you eat.  The easiest way to hunt animals is to set traps for them because you simply build the trap and then occasionally check it for prey.

Traps and snares are designed to crush, choke, hang, or otherwise entangle the prey, commonly incorporating several of these principles together to better ensnare prey.  In general, the simpler the trap the better.  The more complex a trap is, the more points of failure you have to contend with and the less it fails, the more often you eat.  So leave the Rube Goldberg machines in your pack.

There is no “catch all” trap that works for all species, you need to establish what type of prey is in the area and focus on one.  There may not even be prey in your area.  Look for the following in the area you’re in:

  • Runs and trails
  • Tracks
  • Droppings
  • Chewed or rubbed vegetation
  • Nesting or roosting sites
  • Feeding and watering areas

These clues will let you know if there is prey in the area, and what species are around.  You will want to place your traps where you know animals will pass through.


The most important part of any snare or trap is to make it blend in with its surroundings.  This will keep from alert your prey that something may be wrong.  If you are evading pursuit or capture (from cannibals or zombies or a roving motorcycle gang of runaway midget circus clowns), camouflage can hide your presence in the area.

It is best to construct your traps away from the spot you want to place them.  If you construct them in place, you will likely break nearby vegetation, make tracks in the dirt, and leave your scent all over everything nearby.  All of this will cause the prey to be alert at the very least, and to completely avoid the area at worst.  If you have to dig a hole for your trap, make sure to remove all fresh, loose dirt as this will further alert your prey of your presence.

Green wood and other live vegetation will ooze sap which produces a smell that will raise the hackles of any potential prey, warning them away from your trap.  On top of that, that same sap  will eventually dry and can potentially gum up the workings of your trap, allowing prey to pass through it unharmed.

Scent is a big factor in trap making.  If anything smells wrong, your prey will become wary of the situation and potentially avoid your trap and let’s face it: you smell wrong.  It is imperative that you mask your scent near the trap.  You can try to remove it, but it’s a difficult process and, to be honest, not worthwhile.  There are a number of ways you can mask your scent.  You can use animal urine to mask your scent, but this is tricky because you need to use urine from an animal that isn’t a predator of the animal you are trying to trap, nor can it be from an animal not indigenous to the area.  Unfamiliar smells will cause animals to be cautious.

Fires are a common occurance in nature and the animal kingdom treats them with  a bit of non-chalance.  Animals will only become anxious about fire if there is actual flame present, so using smoke in the trap area is a good way to mask your scent.  You could go so far as to char your trap in order to lock in that smoke smell, just make sure your trap will still work after you set it.

Mud is also a good way to mask your scent.  Swamp mud is the best because the scent of rotting vegetation lingers on the mud and let me tell you, that is a STRONG smell.  Just cake your trap in mud.  Again, make sure your trap will still work afterward placing the mud.


A trap by itself can be effective, but not a gaurantee.  If you place a trap on a trail, an animal could decide to simply walk around the trap, leaving your stomach empty.  What you want to do is set up some sort of way to guide your prey into your trap; make it more difficult to avoid the trap.  This technique is called channeling.  This can be as simple as putting your trap on the far end of a shrub that’s in middle of the trail, or as complex as constructing a funnel-shaped barrier between two trees.  Most animals will opt to push forward on their chosen path than try to backtrack, so they’ll walk right into your trap unless they’re certain that it’s bad for them.


Baiting a trap is kind of like camouflaging your trap, but instead of hiding bad smells, you’re introducing enticing smells.  You are trying to lure the prey into the trap with the appeal of food.  This will greatly improve your chances of success if you can spare the resources.  If you are trying to trap fish, you need to bait the trap or you will more than likely not catch anything.  Try to bait the trap with something from the animals normal diet, don’t use something not indigenous to the area.  Also don’t use anything in abundance (baiting with corn in a cornfield won’t get you anywhere).  A lot of animals are big fans of salt, so you can bait your trap with some salt.  Have you ever given peanut butter to a dog before?  They go crazy for it!  For some reason, animals love peanut butter so it makes a great bait.  Make sure to leave bits of your bait outside the trap so that the animal will get a better smell and possibly a taste of the bait.  If its something good, they’ll be more likely to fall into your trap.

Simple Snare

As the name implies, a simple snare is the most simple of snares.  It is simply a noose  placed over a high traffic path for the animal.  Once the animal puts its head in the noose, the noose will tighten as it continues to move.  The more the animal struggles, the tighter the noose will get.  This trap will typically only restrain the animal, not kill it so you need to check these traps more often to minimize the suffering of your prey.  If your noose is made of rope, it is possible for the noose to loosen so it is recommended to use wire instead, as wire will retain its constricted size.

Twitch-Up Snare

A twitch-up snare is a step up in complexity (as well as effectiveness) fromk the simple snare.  Essentially, the prey gets its head caught in the noose (as with the simple snare) but then the animal is snapped off the ground, more than likely snapping its neck, killing it quickly.  The easiest way to get this motion to occur is to bend over a sapling and attach it to some sort of trigger mechanism.  I personally like to use a notched triggerbar set up.  This consists of a stake in the ground with a notch in it and a piece of wood (the triggerbar) that fits snugly into that notch.  Tie the trigger bar to the bent sapling and then tie the triggerbar to your noose.  When the animal is caught by the noose, it will pull the triggerbar away from the stake, which will cause the sapling to snap upright, which tightens the noose around the animals neck, pulling it into the air and snapping its neck.

Squirrel Pole

The squirrel pole is probably the most effective way to catch squirrels.  It relies on the naturally agility and curiosity of squirrels.  Place a series of nooses on a long pole leaned against a tree, so that any squirrels that climb the pole will have to walk through the nooses.  Place them close enough together that a squirrel cannot fit between.  If the squirrel is able to stand comfortably on the pole, they will chew on/through your noose, just for the sake of chewing it.  Squirrels will cautious of your trap initially, but eventually will have to investigate.  They’ll climb the pole, get caught in the noose, and then fall off the pole, snapping their neck or strangling themselves.  This trap is nice because you can catch multiple squirrels with one setup.

These are just a basic few types of traps that you can build.  There are a great number of different traps for any number of different types of animals to trap.

Further Reading

Heat Stroke

It’s hot outside, REALLY hot.  The air burns your lungs as you breathe and the sweat is dripping off your brow in a constant stream.  You run your fingers through your hair and it burns to the touch.  You feel parched even though you just guzzled a bottle of water and even though you’re walking slowly down the road, you’re heart is racing so fast that you can see your pulse in your eyes.  Suddenly, you realize that you’ve stopped sweating and you’re dizzy, you lean over and vomit the little bit of lunch you had onto the ground at your feet.

This is just the beginning of heat stroke and if it were to progress any further, you could very likely die.  Heat related illness is a very treatable illness, yet an average of around 300 people die from it every year.  In a post-apocalyptic environment, your chances of surviving heat stroke are lessened a great deal.  So the better you understand it, the better prepared you are to prevent and treat it.


Heat stroke, the most severe stage of heat illness, occurs when body core temperature exceeds 104 degrees Fahrenheit and your body’s normal heat regulation systems are no longer able to dissipate internal heat.  There are a number of symptoms to look for:

  • Rapid heartbeat even when not exerting
  • Light-headedness
  • Rapid or shallow breathing even when not exerting
  • Nausea
  • Lack of Sweat where sweating had occured before
  • Abnormal irritability or confusion
  • Headache
  • Fainting

If you happen to faint from heat exhaustion and you’re by yourself, you’re pretty much done for unless you get REALLY lucky.


If you suspect that you are suffering from heat stroke, you need to immediatly cease any physical exertion and find a shady (prefereably cool) spot to sit.  Take off as much of your clothes as you can to promote evaporation on your skin and splash some water on your skin.  If you have a way of fanning yourself without exerting yourself, do it.  Sip (and I emphasize this) cool water.  If you drink too much too quickly or if the water is too cold, you’ll get stomach cramps and probably vomit.  Avoid anything with sugar or caffeine in it, these are diuretics and will cause you to dehydrate more.

You can take more drastic measures to cool yourself off.  If you are near a water source, jump in and soak in the water (preferably in the shade) until you cool off.  Avoid water that is too cold because this can cause vasoconstriction which will not allow for efficient heat transfer.  If you decide to soak in water, remember that your head dissipates heat much faster than the rest of your body, so stick your head under the water.

If you are sick enough that drinking water, no matter how slowly, causes you to feel sick to your stomach, it may be necessary to feed yourself water intravenously.  This is not difficult to do, but I will not go into it in this article.


Urine Color Chart
Urine Color Chart

The most important thing you can do to prevent heat stroke is to drink fluids.  Stay hydrated!  Don’t gauge your hydration on thirst, especially in extreme heat.  By the time you’re thirsty, it’s already too late.  A better judge of hydration is the color of your urine.  On the included chart, you can see what color your urine should be and drink accordingly.  You should avoid drinking anything with a lot of sugar, caffeine, or alcohol as these will cause you to get dehydrated much faster.  You should be drinking 16-32 ounces of water an hour in extreme heat or when physically active.  Almost as important as hydration is salt intake.  If you drink too much water without replenishing salt and minerals this will lead to a condition called hyponatremia which can cause sudden heart failure and death.

When eating, avoid heavy meals and hot foods.  Particularly during the mid-day hours.  These types of foods tend to raise your core temperature and thus raise your risk of heat stroke.

Avoid being in the sun, especially during mid-day since this is when it will be hottest out.  If you have to be outside in the sun, limit your exposure time and level of exertion.  Take lots of breaks and be aware of how you feel.  You should try to wear lighweight clothing that is lighter in color, light colors reflect sunlight and the accompanying radiant heat and lightweight materials like cotton will draw sweat away from your skin and allow for quicker evaporation (and thus quicker cooling).

Avoid enclosed spaces (like a car) if at all possible.  Inside a building (assuming there is no air conditioning) should be okay, but just be wary of buildings that are warm inside.

Protect your head!  Wear a hat that will block sunlight from all sides.  There are hats out there that have vents in them.  Those vents allow for greater air flow, which will keep your head much cooler than a hat without them.

If at anytime you start to feel hot, take a break, dunk your head in some water, sit down and drink some water, etc.  Don’t feel like you ever need to power through it.

Further Reading

Spicing Up Your Canned Meals

You’ve survived the initial disaster, scraped by on what bits of food you could find, and you’ve scavenged a healthy inventory of canned goods.  What’s for dinner?  Franks and beans again?  After a while, you’re going to get bored with eating the same stuff day in and day out (a luxurious problem to have in this scenario, but a problem nonetheless).  You can do some things to spice up your meals so they aren’t the same drab thing all the time.

In this day and age you can get nearly anything canned and if its in a store now, it’ll be there after the Apocalypse.  From canned fruits and vegetables, to the more exotic canned meats.  There’s even a company that sells canned bacon (shelf life ten years!).  The point is that you can find all sorts of items in canned form and you can then mix and match these to make a more palatable meal than just eating a hunk of spam until you’re full.

At the very basic level, you can make a proper meal by just pulling out some canned meat and a vegetable for a side.  You can go a little further and mix some things together.  Got a can of stewed tomatoes, corn, black olives, and jalapeno peppers?  Mix them up for some salsa (chips not included).  Want to go all out?  Add some none-canned goods into the mix.  Remember the recipe for Bannock?  Use that dough to make a shell and put a stew inside, cook it and you’ve got yourself a pot pie.

The key is to add a little something to your meal to make it different enough that it’s no longer a bland meal.  Even just adding a shake of some seasoned salt or some other spice to a can of food can make it so much better.  From personal experience, I added a few shakes of generic seasoned salt to a can of corn one time and I’ll never eat corn without it again.  You can find all sorts of canned food recipes on the internet, unfortunately most of them have 15 ingredients, only one or two of which are actual canned food and the rest would be highly difficult to find post-Apocalypse.