This study proposes a novel and lightweight bio-inspired computation technique named biological survival optimizer (BSO), which simulates the escape behavior of prey in the natural environment. This algorithm consists of two important courses, escape phase and adjustment phase. Specifically, in the escape phase, each search agent is required to updates its location using the best, the worst and a neighboring individual of the population. The adjustment phase is implemented using the simplex algorithm for search better location of the worst agent within a small region. The effectiveness of the BSO is validated on the CEC2017 benchmark problems and three classical engineering structural problems. Simulation comparison results considering both convergence and accuracy simultaneously show that BSO can present competitive performance compared with other state-of-art optimization techniques.