Naked And Afraid Recap Season 2, Episode 4: Belize

Hooray, hooray, Naked And Afraid is on today! Sorry, it was a long weekend. When I heard that the survivalists were headed to Belize, I was jealous because when I think of Belize, I think of beaches. But this is Naked And Afraid, so we’re not soaking up sun and sand, we’re stinking in the swamp.  Naked And Afraid is quickly turning my list of “Places I want to visit before I die,” into a list of “Places I will never go, so that I don’t die.”

According to Mr. Ominous-Voice Narrator, here are the playmates we’ll have in Belize:
Howler Moneys
Mosquitoes (Oh crap, more mosquitoes?!?),
Blood-sucking ticks (Being naked should make it easier to look for ticks, unless the ticks are on your “naked”)
Boa constrictors
And, much of the country is also flooded due to heavy rainfall.


Let’s meet the players…

Leonard Cassidy “Cass”: 34 years old, married dad of 4 from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Currently unemployed, former active-duty soldier and police officer. Survival Skills/Expertise: Hunting, first aid, primitive fire-starting, weaponry

Shannon Thomas: 38 years old, single mom of 2 kids, from Cleveland, Ohio. Yoga teacher, wellness consultant and wilderness skills teacher. Survival Skills/Expertise: Wild edibles and medicinals, plant fibers, tracking

Shannon is a fan of clothes. And she has a hair tie. She is the first N&A contestant I’ve ever seen with a hair tie.

Each survivalist is allowed one survival item. Shannon brought a bad-ass knife, Cass has a magnesium fire starter. I am so glad that they’ve gotten rid of the terrible push-in fire starters that were used unsuccessfully on other episodes.

Prior to the beginning of their journey, each participant is assigned a Primitive Survival Rating (PSR), which measures their skill, experience and mental toughness. Cass scores a 7.2, Shannon scores a 6.9.

Day 1
It’s so flooded that everything scary is displaced and looking for dry ground. One option, look for a cave.  My option, avoid the caves. Scary stuff lives there.

After finding Agave, which Shannon says can be used for making rope (and tequila?), Cass carries an armful along into the unknown.

They discover a huge network of caves… inside, according to our helpful, and frighteningly-voiced narrator live…

Rabid Bats, reptiles and scorpion spiders. The ancient Mayans used to hang out here too.  And, they Mayans are all dead, so that didn’t work out too well for them.  Just sayin’

Cass makes fire like a champ, and they settle into the mouth of a giant cave.

That night, they see glowing eyes coming from the back of the cave… And don’t get much sleep.

Day 2
After a sleepless night, where they were ravaged by ticks, they awake tired, thirsty and hungry.

Cass thinks he has ticks in his eyes…and his “Pee hole.”

After scratching tick bites (in Cass’ privates) they head out in search of water.

The water vines that they find are frustratingly empty. So their option is to drink the mineral-rich water dripping in the cave. This water has so many minerals that it can cause kidney stones, but when you’re desperate, mineral-y water= mineral water.

Day 5
Hunger has set in and Shannon is already super thin. They see a Paca and set their hopes on hunting and killing one of these 30 pound rodents.

“I want to eat that F***ing thing.” Cass

Shannon creates a figure 4 trap to smash food and stuff. It doesn’t work. I’m not surprised.

Day 6
Cass comes upon a Yellow Jawed Tommygoff, the most dangerous snake in S. America. This animal is aggressive with an excruciating bite that can kill in 72 hours. Sadly, but thankfully, Cass misses this poisonous meal.

Then Cass starts throwing rocks at howler monkeys. The monkeys start throwing branches back. The monkeys have better aim.

Day 7
Still hungry, Shannon is getting weaker and weaker.

And it is pouring rain…

Day 8
It is still raining and Shannon and Cass can’t risk going out to look for food or face hypothermia.

Day 10
Still raining and Cass and Shannon are still hungry. Shannon is all ribs and bugbites.

Day 11
Cass and Shannon are so desperate for food that they scavenge in the caves (which is a terrible idea) They ignore tracks the size of a child’s hand, and all they find are bats and shards of Mayan pottery.

Day 14
Shannon and Cass are so hungry that they’re making mental and physical mistakes. Cass has worn through all of his physical reserves, but Shannon has enough energy to head out in search of food and finds two snails. Cass refuses his snail, saying that Shannon needs the food more than he does.  He is either a total gentleman, of hates escargot. Suddenly, Shannon has an woven skirt and top. If you can weave clothes, why not weave yourselves a blanket or two? Unbaweavable!

Day 16
Cass has so little energy that he is simply lying around the cave. Shannon, who is thinner than a Hollywood starlet, also lacks the energy to do much.

Day 17
Shannon breaks down in tears and is utterly despondent. Her distress might be the catalyst to revive Cass’ spirit. Cass, “I don’t have any energy. this is the last trek I’m going on.” A giant boa is heaven sent in their “Garden of not-eatin” Yay for snakes! Nature’s greatest and most stupid food source!!! Cass whacks the snake and brings it triumphantly back to Shannon, who might have wept with gratitude and relief if she had the energy to cry. After much feasting and festivities, a rainbow comes out.

Naked and Afraid
Shannon and Cass feast on snake. Mmmm, snake.

Day 21
Cass and Shannon have to trek through the complex of caves to their extraction point.  Caves= limestone labyrinth. Hmm, a labyrinth? One with Davie Bowie? ‘Cause, you know, he was in Labyrinth, with some Muppets.

They make it through the caves and once up a cliff, they are rescued and survive.

At the end of the ordeal, Shannon says, “Cass was far more motivated by my needs than his own.” To a former military man like Cass, there is no greater praise than those words.

The physical toll on Shannon is shocking: in 21 days she lost 20 pounds and went from a lean, fit woman, to a walking skeleton. Cass lost 21 pounds, which is a lot less than I would have guessed.

Cass’ PSR increased to 7.4 and Shannon’s PSR increased to 7.1.

The best thing about this episode was the camaraderie of this team. They both had moments of absolute desperation, destitution and depression, but also triumphant moments of determination. Yes, that’s a lot of words with the letter D, that’s what I was going for. Duh.

This was the quickest-feeling episode of Naked and Afraid I’ve ever seen. Perhaps this episode seemed quick because the drama was mental — the anguish that Cass and Shannon felt was much different than the physical challenges that other survivalists have faced. I’m not sure which I would find more difficult, the mental torture of hunger that Cass and Shannon faced, or some of the more outwardly physical torture that other twosomes have faced. And in no way am I belittling their starvation as anything less than a physical toll that I would be unable to bear, but is starvation worse than thousands of mosquito bites, or an intestinal parasite, or huddling in freezing rain and gale-force winds or a machete chop to the shin?

What do you think?

Like Naked And Afraid? Check out these other recaps:
Episode 1: Peru, Episode 2:Madagascar, Episode 3: Fiji, Episode 4:Belize, Episode 5: Malaysia

Like me? Follow me on Twitter! @ChannelGuideKF

images © Discovery communications


  1. I was on a church mission trip to Belize earlier this summer so this episode caught my attention. I’m a physician and I also noticed that Shannon has an enlarged thyroid (goiter). Usually not serious but should be evaluated and treated.

  2. It’s a very noticeable-sized goiter; it’s so noticeable, it lead me here via a google search. It’s also a very treatable condition. I find it impossible to believe that Shannon has an iodine deficiency, but, universal health care was only insituted this past year in the US. So it is possible. If I were this woman I would seek treatment.

  3. Shannon, have you ever had your thyroid checked? Are you aware you have a goiter? I do not mean to sound personal, but as a medical professional I am only expressing a concern and do not know of any other route than this. I pray all is well and no concerns.

  4. Thanks Cass! You know I feel the same about you! And thanks Kellie for the fun and funny review. Cass is right about the show not having time to show everything. I had to laugh at what you said comparing starvation to the challenges pairs have faced else where. In order to make a 40 something minute show out of 21 days, imagine what was cut. They had to choose one type of suffering and focus on it. Because it was so visually dramatic, they chose the starvation- this particular challenge also highlighted the truth of our strong connection and ability to work together. Believe me when I say that this minimized some other unimaginable challenges we faced out there. We also had some incredibly great times and did some very cool things. By the way, I did weave mats and blankets as well as clothes and shoes.

    • Hi Shannon-

      Love your knife! Would you mind sharing the make and model? I have been looking for one just like it. “Heavy duty” as you say yet compact. You both did a great job under the circumstances. Don’t know if I could do what you both have done! Tough stuff!!


  5. It was most difficult thing i’ve ever done. Not a ton of time to show everything. Understand Shannon is one of the most tough stubborn woman in my top 3 i’ve ever met. She is a warrior and the honor was mine to be able to get her as a partner and friend.

    Thank You and all for support.

    • Cass- You and Shannon had the best team dynamics I’ve ever seen on “Naked and Afraid”! What did you/ your family think of the episode?

      Also, you were really funny on last night’s “Naked After Dark.” That show is usually torture to watch, but you and Shannon made it really watchable. You would be great on an episode of “Naked and Afraid” all-stars. How do you think you would have done in some of the other locations? Would you rather that your location had a beach?

Comments are closed.