Can you eat snow to survive?

In this short blog, we will discuss the question, “Can you eat snow to survive?.” We will further look at what snow is, the possibility of snow hydrating the body, what happens when you eat snow, how to eat snow to survive, and the potential downsides and tips to consider when eating snow.

Can you eat snow to survive?

No, you can’t eat snow to survive. The human body is largely made of water, and water is important for the proper functioning and survival of the body. 

Snow is just more than frozen water, and eating snow when the body needs water will not produce the same results. 

What is snow?

Snow is a form of precipitation consisting of ice particles. When water vapour in the atmosphere condenses to ice as the temperature drops below zero degrees Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit while skipping the liquid stage, ice crystals are said to form. 

To proceed further, ice crystals that are formed absorb and freeze additional water from the surroundings, resulting in snow crystals that fall to the earth’s surface. 

Can snow hydrate the body to survive?

It is not likely for snow to hydrate the body, especially when it needs water for survival. Snow, as we have mentioned earlier, is frozen water, thus in a solid state. 

When the body needs hydration, liquids are the perfect means to hydrate the body. This means you would have to melt the ice before consuming them so you can provide your body with the needed hydration for survival. 

What happens to your body when you eat snow?

Eating a small amount of snow or even large amounts when the body has enough water to depend on might not show any visible signs in your body. 

However, in a situation where the body lacks water and water is required for survival, snow cannot be an option.

When you eat snow under such conditions, snow dehydrates your body rather than providing hydration. 

When you eat snow when your body needs water, you only give the body extra work to do, which means the body should melt the ice and take it in the form of water.

When this happens, the body does a lot of work to melt the ice, and the more energy the body uses to melt the ice, the more water is being lost from the body, leading to dehydration. 

How can you eat snow to survive?

In situations where snow has to be your only means of survival, then avoid eating snow in its solid form. To best help dehydrate your body, melt the ice outside of your body and use the liquid that is produced to serve as hydration for your body. 

This is the only way to eat snow and survive, as it is very dangerous to have solid ice crystals when the body requires water. 

What are the potential downsides of eating snow to survive?

Eating snow is not the best of options, as this can cause more damage than good. If you have to eat snow in the absence of water for survival, ensure it is melted outside of your body to ensure safety. However, if you pounce on just snow for survival, then the following risks are likely to be seen:


When the body is allowed to depend on snow in times of emergency, the cells and the organs of the body work extra hard to convert the solid into a liquid, which ends up dehydrating the body rather than providing hydration.


When the body depends on snow for survival, the body starts to lose heat faster than it normally would as it is adjusting to making water from the snow instead of the snow providing hydration. 

The fast heat loss sends the body into a dangerous low temperature that can even cause death in extreme cases.


If the body begins to survive on snow and the snow is not in its purest form, you risk contracting bacteria such as listeria and others, which can make you sick and lead to even more severe situations than you would expect. 

What are the tips to consider when eating snow?

Even when you have to eat snow, it is important to consider the source so as not to be a source of contamination, which may lead to more health complications. Follow these steps to eat snow safely:

  • Always avoid the snow that has a tint to it like yellow, pink, brown, black, and others because they usually indicate signs of contamination and can make you sick when consumed.
  • If you have to eat snow in an emergency, then melt it into a liquid state and purify it if possible before consuming it.


In this short blog, we have discussed the question, “Can you eat snow to survive?.” We have further looked at what snow is, the possibility of snow hydrating the body, what happens when you eat snow, how to eat snow to survive, and the potential downsides and tips to consider when eating snow.