When confronted by a shark, do not be alarmed. Sharks are "cowards" and can be sent on their way with a deft punch to the nose. As for pythons, they "make no attempt to avenge injury or offence", and taste best when boiled.
This, anyway, was what airmen in the 1950s were told by Britain's Air Ministry in a series of survival guides that have been re-issued by Penguin.
The guides, which provide an insight into a bygone era, cover survival scenarios in jungles, deserts, the Arctic and at sea, and advise what to do if forced to ditch a plane or bail out over unfamiliar terrain.
The pamphlets assume that every airman travels with cigarettes.
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"When moving through the jungle, if smoking, keep the pieces of unburnt tobacco, and wrap them up in a piece of material," the instructions read.
"When de-leeching, moisten the bag so formed, and squeeze nicotine onto the leech. By using these methods, you force the leech to withdraw its jaws."
Leeches are not the only things on the jungle floor, the guides warn. "Numerous other slugs, insects and small animal life will be found, all in some ways loathsome and unpleasant."
In the Arctic, polar bears "unless strangled or stunned are hard to kill without a gun", while in the ocean sharks "can usually be frightened off by the jab of a stick, a blow struck with the fist or a knife, particularly at the nose, or by the splash of water".
When encountering natives, the advice is the same for all terrain: "Show friendliness, courtesy and patience...and leave the native women alone."