Whether you live in a cosy suburban semi or the depths of the Amazon, knowing how to survive a perilous situation is essential. There’s no tougher way to test your survival know-how than escaping a death trap! A healthy diet of Bear Grylls, Indiana Jones and the SAW franchise may have left you quietly confident that you’d be able to outsmart a death trap, but today I’m putting that to the test. Join me now, as we dive into the deadly depths of booby-trapped temples, using every bit of knowledge and instinct you have in order to solve the survival riddles.
10. The Three Door Pit
Your lust for treasure, adventure and mystery has led you to a crumbling temple in the depths of a rainforest.
But after only a couple of steps, the floor falls away beneath you! You find yourself in a concave pit, extending upwards into four square walls.
On three of the four walls, raised three feet off the ground, are 8-foot tall stone doors. Behind each door is a passage, blocked by an obstacle. One door contains a trap which will fire non-stop arrows in your direction from the entire area of the door, for 20 seconds. The door opposite contains a healthy, yet very hungry, aggressive grizzly bear. The door between the others contains a giant, Indiana Jones-style boulder, on a slope ready to roll into the pit. There are three levers on the ground before you. Each opens two doors, which will open upwards. You may only push one lever. Which door combination do you choose?
A) Boulder and bear.
B) Arrows and boulder.
C) Bear and arrows.
Lever A would not be a wise choice. The concave shape of the pit would provide a nice snug fit for the boulder. Even if the bear came for you first, you’d both become parts of a mixed-meat quesadilla soon after. As for lever B, even if you were able to duck down and dodge the arrows, the boulder would still crush you. The answer to this survival riddle is C. If you made use of the 3-foot gap beneath each door, you could dodge the countless arrows, which would fly straight past you, killing the bear.
Once the arrow fire has ceased, you could exit behind the bear. Trust me, this is the best way you could ever hope to exit through a bear’s rear passage.
9. Hell’s Hall
You reach a straight, cylindrical hallway that slopes downwards. With a thunderous crash, another Indiana Jones boulder smashes through the ceiling and comes barrelling towards you, fast.
The boulder fits the tunnel perfectly, and there’s no stopping it. A few yards ahead of you area series of tripwires, which stretch from floor to ceiling, three inches apart from each other. They’re extremely sensitive, and each one will cause a deadly crossbow bolt to be instantly launched at the exact location contact was made.
To your left is an indentation in the wall, just large enough for you to squeeze in. But the boulder will press you with some force against the wall as it passes, and the wall contains machete blades, from floor to ceiling.
Down by your feet is another indentation, but this one’s only 4 inches deep. On the bright side, there are no razors.
What’s your choice?
A) Attempt to squeeze between the tripwires.
B) Press yourself into the blade wall.
C) Lay down in the floor pit.
Even if you could somehow miraculously squeeze yourself through a three-inch gap between tripwires, the time necessary to do so would leave you with a severe case of the boulder blues. Besides, you’d probably set off the crossbows long before that. As for the shallow floor pit, the 4-inch depth means – unless you’re incredibly skinny – you’re on a one-way train to pancake city.
That leaves the wall of blades – which seems crazy, right? But most blades cause damage due to the microscopic serrations on their edges, which dig in and pull against materials like saw blades. This requires a ripping, slicing motion, and if you were being pushed against the blades without moving up or down, there’s a good chance you’d be okay. That’s why magicians can sit on a bed of nails without becoming Swiss cheese.
8. Spike Showdown
The boulder crashes past, through the tripwires, clearing the path. You enter a room with a very high ceiling, well over 50 ft. Suddenly, rocks fall from the ceiling, trapping you in an area around 12 feet in length.
To make matters worse, dozens of large, sharpened iron poles have emerged from 12-foot sections of the walls around you and are closing in by the second.
You can spot a gap at the top of the closing walls, but no clear way up. The spikes are separated by about 10 inches, but for every empty gap in one wall, there are spikes in the other to fill it! The spikes run from floor to ceiling, and the walls aren’t stopping until they come together. Pick a direction and act fast!
A) Drop down to the floor.
B) Stay perfectly still.
C) Run towards the spike wall like a maniac.
Now is no time to lie down. Remember, for every empty space on one wall, there’s a spike on the other to fill the gap, from floor to ceiling. No matter how good your contortion abilities are, once the walls come together, you’ll be impaled and crushed. Don’t depend on a miraculous malfunction, either. But if you’re perceptive, you can see the spikes form a stairway upwards. Being made of iron, they’re sturdy enough to climb, meaning you can run over and clamber quickly up and out of harm’s way. Looks like you got a nasty cut on the way up there, but it’s better than dying!
7. Sink or Swim
You happen upon three tunnels, each stretching far into the darkness. None of the tunnels have a visible floor, instead consisting of deep, liquid-filled pools.
You’ll have to venture down one of the tunnels, but which is least likely to send you to your death? The contents of each are:
A) Linolenic acid.
B) Cornstarch mixed with water.
Like I mentioned, you cut yourself in the previous room, so swimming in a pool full of blood from who-knows-where is a terribleidea– you’re riskingdeadly diseases like hepatitisorworse. Cornstarch and water may sound harmless, but when mixed together, this substance behaves much like quicksand. You’d fall in, and it’d suck you down deeper the harder your fought to move on. Pretty soon, you’d suffocate and fail the survival riddle.
As for linolenic acid, it’s commonly found in food products, and is good for treating inflammation. Though it’s called an acid, its not very acidic, with a ph ranging from the same as urine, to baking soda. You may not want to stick around in it for too long, but it’s still the safest choice by far.
6. Hard Pill To Swallow
Suddenly, you’re seized by the long-forgotten inhabitants of the temple.
They present you three pills. Each contains something nasty, but the locals will kill you if you refuse to eat one. Choose your pill’s contents:
A) Raccoon faeces.
B) Goliath bird-eater tarantula venom.
C) The skin of a rough-skinned newt.
The rough-skinned newt’s skin contains tetrodotoxin, which is deadly to humans. Raccoon faeces is more than gross – it commonly contains a deadly parasite known as raccoon roundworm, which burrows into brain tissue, eventually killing you. Bird-eater venom – surprisingly – is not all that dangerous to humans. Besides, venom’s worst effects occur when taken directly into the bloodstream, so swallowing it would lessen the already-minimal effects!
5. Acquired Tastes
The temple-people present you with three plates and won’t take no for an answer. Forced, do you eat:
A) A plate full of pretty legumes called rosary peas.
B) Locally-prepared pufferfish liver sushi.
C) Maggot-infested cheesevile enough to be illegal.
It’s fair to assume that the temple’s chef isn’t an officially-licensed fugu vendor.This, alongside the fact that it’s made from pufferfish liver, the most lethal part of the already poisonous fish, makes the risk insurmountably high. And don’t let those tasty-looking rosary peas fool you –they contain abrin, one of the most toxic poisons in the plant kingdom. As for the maggoty cheese: this delicacy – casumarzu – is illegal to sell in Europe, but people still love to make it. As long as you chew it properly, the worst you’ll get is an upset stomach.
4. Killer Kiss
With dinner out of the way, the temple-people tell you to give thanks by kissing one of their holy statues. Each is coated in a mysterious coloured powder, two of which are poisonous.
It’s punishable by death not to kiss the right statue. Using any knowledge or instincts you have, which coloured statue do you choose?
The red statue, if other ancient sites like that of the red queen are anything to go by, might be coated in red cinnabar. The effects can be deadly, as red cinnabar contains high levels of poisonous mercury.
Green powder, in this context, has the possibility of being copper arsenite. This is a highly toxic chemical capable of acute poisoning and is also carcinogenic. The blue powdered statue is your safest bet in this survival riddle. Blue is not a colour commonly associated with poisonous or deadly minerals, and in fact, it’s incredibly rare in nature. Therefore, it’s the least immediately-risky to put anywhere near your mouth, so kiss away!
3. Face to Face
Unfortunately, you inadvertently kissed the statue in a place the locals deem rather inappropriate.
As a punishment, you’re forced to wear a sealed, 1.5-foot-wide box on your head for 20 minutes.
You get the roommate of your choice, too:
A) A male platypus of breeding age.
B) 12 rats, in a frenzy of hunger.
C) An acid-spraying whip scorpion.
D) A vampire bat.
Cute though it seems, a breeding male platypus is armed with venomous spikes on its arms. If he decides to attack you, his venom is potent enough to cause rapid swelling, and you could soon find your airways sealed. Equally, it wouldn’t take much to convince 12 hungry rats to strip you to the bone. Vampire bats may be tiny, but they commonly carry rabies, and a bite from one of these could leave you dying in one of the worst possible ways. Rabies leaves you physically unable to drink water, and slowly drives you insane on your journey to death-by-dehydration.
The whip scorpion, while dangerous-sounding, is actually perfectly safe. She may pinch you a little, and possibly spray you with acid, but her acid is similar to vinegar, and is unlikely to do any real damage. If you choose the whip scorpion, you have passed the survival riddle.
2. Final Punishment
The locals call for your execution. There may just be a way to survive, if you’re extremely resourceful, and aren’t afraid to take a little damage. During the ritual, they hand you a nicely-decorated, thin, hollow bamboo stick with a sharpened end– no more than four inches long.
You may use this as you see fit. They give you three choices for how to die. Which one will allow you to live?
A) Fight to the death against five angry panthers.
B) A container around your head, locked in place and sealed at the top of your neck, which is filled with water for an hour.
C) 48 hours in a15-ft-deep, 10-ft-wide pool, with no edges to cling to, with 2 box jellyfish added every 10 minutes.
Every inch of a panther’s body is evolved to kill with maximum efficiency. Unfortunately, a four-inch stick won’t count for much against five panthers. As for the pool, it’s unlikely that you’d survive 48 hours without becoming exhausted and drowning in the first place. With the addition of a large quantity of the world’s most venomous jellyfish, whose long tentacles can easily kill or at least paralyse a human, your chances are essentially zero.
As are your chances for the watery helmet. But there is a way, and it isn’t pretty. Using the sharp, hollow bamboo stick, and avoiding your main arteries, it’s possible to create a breathing hole in your own neck. With your head submerged, you can jab between your tracheal cartilage, fashioning a makeshift tracheotomy.
This will allow you to breathe, which is better than being dead. Pretty horrible, though.
The locals are in disbelief. No one’s ever survived the execution before. They offer to let you go free if you can work your magic once more and convince them you have god-like prophetic powers. One of the temple-people will die in the next week, but who?
A) Far-Out Frank, who is sweating, drooling and vomiting after injecting tree frog poison into his arm.
B) Chuckling Charlie, who can’t stop laughing since eating a chimpanzee.
C) Arachnoid Annie, who was bitten by her Huntsman Spider and is complaining of an irregular heartbeat and nausea.
Far-Out-Frank’s odd practice is a tradition among certain Amazonian hunters, and the symptoms tend to give way eventually, supposedly improving his focus for the hunt afterwards. Annie’s irregular heartbeat and nausea are common side effects of the Huntsman spider’s bite, but that’s about as bad as they get before going away.
But Charlie, it turns out, is headed for the graveyard. Uncontrollable laughter is a symptom of the degeneration of the brain, which can be caused by consuming proteins known as prions. These are often deadly and are usually ingested during the consumption of primate brain matter – and Charlie chomped a chimp! If you guessed it, enjoy your freedom!
Boy, that was tricky. Did you crack these tricky survival riddles? Or did you fall at the first booby trap? Let me know how many you got correct in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!
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