Recognised as the British Army's most highly decorated serving soldier when he retired from the SAS in February 1993, it's safe to say that Mr Andy McNab knows a thing or two about dealing with extreme circumstances. Of the 51-year-old's many best-selling books, it was the 1993's autobiographical account Bravo Two Zero - the best-selling war book of all time - that pushed him into the hands and minds of the masses. "I spent 18 months in the jungle, on and off, during my time in the Special Air Service", explains Mr McNab, whose latest thriller Dead Centre is out now. "If you know what you're doing it's actually the best environment to be in - you've got everything you need right there: it's going to rain at least twice a day providing you with water, there's a huge amount of vegetation to make a shelter, and you're surrounded by plants and wildlife that you can eat. You just need to know what to look for and where." Here, the man who permanently conceals his true identity for security reasons breaks cover for MR PORTER, and imparts some of his survival knowledge.
Don't be the guy who wakes up to a snake in his boots. Make sure you store your footwear upside down and rest them on sticks before sleeping so that nothing can crawl in. It's easy to do, but often forgotten.
There are literally hundreds of edible plants in the jungle, but be wary - one bad berry and it's game over. Avoid plants with white or yellow berries and don't eat any mushrooms. If it tastes bitter or soapy, spit it out and move on. If in doubt, perform a contact test by bringing it into contact with your skin and waiting eight hours - if there's a negative reaction, chances are it won't like your belly.
If you're not a fish man you're out of luck, because in the jungle finding a good source of meat is nigh on impossible (unless you are a trained tribesman). Fish, on the other hand, are plentiful - the Amazon is home to more than twice the number of species found in the Atlantic Ocean. A long piece of bamboo shaved into a spear will make a perfect fishing tool.