Amazon Ordeal: Man Survives 31 Days on Worm Diet

A Bolivian man lost in the Amazon jungle for 31 days survived animal encounters, exposure, dehydration, and starvation before a local search party found him.

Jhonattah Acosta was on a hunting trip in northern Bolivia when he became separated from his four friends on Jan. 25, The Guardian reported. More than a month later, a search party comprised of Acosta’s friends and area locals stumbled upon him. He had a dislocated ankle and a swollen face, and had lost 17kg.

“I ate worms, I ate insects, you wouldn’t believe all I had to do to survive all this time,” he told Unitel TV. “I was attacked by animals.”

The BBC reported that Acosta is “still psychologically bruised after the experience.” Family members shared that Acosta had no flashlight or machete with him when he became lost, and only one shell for his shotgun.

‘Happy and grateful’

The few details available about his ordeal suggest a harrowing journey.

After dislocating his ankle on day four, Acosta began to fear for his life. But he persevered, collecting rainwater in his boots and drinking his urine in the days between rainstorms. He also endured clouds of biting insects every night and a close encounter with a herd of peccaries and a jaguar.

Acosta finally found help after 31 days, when he spotted a search party about 300 meters from his location and limped towards them, shouting for help.

“I am very happy and grateful,” Acosta told Unitel shortly after being rescued.

The Amazon rainforest has a long history of swallowing up those who don’t already call it home.

The rainforest’s most famous missing explorer is Col. Percy Fawcett, who disappeared along with his son in 1925 while searching for the so-called Lost City of Z. In more recent decades, Israeli Yossi Ghinsberg survived a three-week ordeal in the Bolivian Amazon in 1981.

Andrew Marshall

Andrew Marshall is an award-winning painter, photographer, and freelance writer. Andrew’s essays, illustrations, photographs, and poems can be found scattered across the web and in a variety of extremely low-paying literary journals.
You can find more of his work at, @andrewmarshallimages on Instagram and Facebook, and @pawn_andrew on Twitter (for as long as that lasts).