By Dalton Ross
March 06, 2019 at 11:15 AM EST

Last week, Lauren O’Connell bucked the recent trend of women not finding hidden immunity idols on Survivor when she found an idol at the Manu tribe beach on Survivor: Edge of Extinction. But then she followed the trend set forth by previous players on previous seasons when — instead of putting the idol with her possessions — she took the hidden idol and hid it somewhere else, burying it in another location.

Re-hiding hidden idols has become a popular practice of late because players know others will just rifle through their bags to see if they have an idol or not. But what if a re-hidden hidden immunity idol is found by another player out in the wild? Does she or he then get the idol? Is Lauren out of luck if someone stumbles upon her buried treasure… as unlikely as that may be? Is this indeed a case of finders keepers, losers weepers? I was flooded with questions about this on Twitter, on the radio, and by co-workers. So I went straight to the source for answers.

“Okay, great question!” host Jeff Probst tells EW. “Let’s clear this up for fans and future players: When someone finds an idol, it is their idol, regardless of whether they hide it in their personal bag or bury it in the sand. An idol can never be taken from you. So, if another player discovered an idol that had already been found and then ‘hidden’ in the sand, they could not use the idol, nor could they re-hide it or destroy it.”

Interesting. Presumably then, if someone happened across Lauren’s idol and didn’t realize it belonged to someone else, they would be gently informed by a producer on the beach that the idol had already claimed. But while someone cannot claim an idol that has already been found — even if it has been re-hidden — that doesn’t mean they can’t attempt to gain intel or advantage from their discovery.

“They do have some fun strategic options that could still help them in the game,” notes Probst. “For instance, they could place the idol back where they found it and use their spy techniques to see who returns to that spot. Now they know who has an idol. Or, they could waltz into camp and say ‘Look what I found?’ Sooner or later the rightful owner would have to claim it and now it’s out in the open, thus reducing its impact.

“Or, you could choose to go to individual players and secretly ask them if the idol belongs to them. If you strike gold, you now only have valuable information, and you might have a new alliance.”

These are but a few of the choices players who stumble across a found idol could utilize, and, notes Probst, “I’m sure there are future players already thinking of a dozen other ways you could use this information for maximum advantage.”

What do you think of this newly revealed rule? And what would you do if you came across an idol that had already been claimed? Hit us up with your best strategic move in the message boards below, and for more Survivor scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

Related content:

Episode Recaps


Jeff Probst leads adventures in the ultimate (and original) reality series.

  • TV Show
  • 40
  • CBS
stream service