Adventurer Bear Grylls tackles situations that would force most people into an immediate panic, like having to cross piranha-infested rivers or fighting off a grizzly bear. The Discovery Channel star demonstrates all types of survival techniques on his popular show "Man vs. Wild," which has its season premiere on Friday.
Now the man who became one of youngest climbers ever to reach Mount Everest's summit teaches readers some of his grizzly techniques in his new book "From Man Vs. Wild: Survival Techniques from the Most Dangerous Places on Earth."
Whether it's snacking on maggots; learning how to build a shelter for yourself in the snow or figuring out how to use your own urine to cool yourself down, Grylls takes on nature's extremes and tells you how to survive them. The book allows readers to be armchair adventurers — even if they can't muster up the courage to actually take on such rugged terrain.
Read an excerpt of Grylls' book below.
Did you know that the arctic ground squirrel is the only known mammal capable of lowering its body temperature to below freezing? Or that a ladybug's bright colors are a potent warning, and that when disturbed it secretes oily foul-smelling yellow blood from its legs to deter predators?
Nowadays people refer to the natural world as "wilderness," as if nature is somehow wild and unkempt, out of control and confused. But it is not. In fact the more I learn about the natural world, the more I realize that nature is the one part of life that actually has order; when you take time to look under the surface of the plant or animal kingdom or at bugs, you see a silent world, forever moving, growing, changing, all together and in unison.
The irony is that our man-made world is the real "wilderness"; only in nature is there any sense of genuine harmony. Wherever you look in man's domain there is disunity and a lack of purpose: on the big scale as nation is pitted against nation, race against creed; and on the small, as companies pollute rivers and individuals dump rubbish on roadsides. This is the real "wilderness" and disharmony in our lives. Wilderness is what we have made and abused all around us. In nature, however, there is none of this; there is no greed, no waste, no envy. And it is in this nature that the real miracles of life occur.
The snowdrops survive because the snow insulates them against the frost. Naked man would die in such snow in a matter of minutes. I have seen puffins flapping awkwardly among icebergs and gale-force-nine Arctic waves during a torrential storm, but apparently loving every minute of it. We were over 500 miles from land. My team and I were in a little rigid inflatable boat with all the latest equipment and technology and dry suits, but it was we who were about to die of cold and terror, not them. The natural world is, in every way, bigger, better, cleverer, and stronger than us.