The Amazon River

The Amazon is the largest tropical rainforest in the world covering 5.5 million square kilometers. The Amazon is found in South America, spanning across Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Equador, Guyana, Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname and French Guiana.

Our roads are rivers! The Amazon River is the longest river in the world, flowing a length of around 6,400 km (4,000 miles) through  Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. It flows from the Andes mountains, Peru to the Atlantic Ocean. Its width varies between 1.5 and 10 km. During the 6 months of rainy season, it can reach over 120 miles in width and rise up along the river banks from 17-19 meters. One-fifth of the world’s fresh water entering the ocean comes from the Amazon River. It has over 1000 tributaries.

Around 400-500 Indian tribes call the Amazon their home. It’s believed that about 50 of these tribes have never had contact with the outside world.

The Amazon has 40,000 species of plants, 1,300 bird species, 3,000 types of fish, 430 mammals and 2.5 million different insects! WOW!!

The Amazon is home to a host of deadly creatures including electric eels, flesh-eating piranhas, anacondas, dart frogs, jaguars and venomous snakes. The Pirarucu fish is a menacing meat eater that guzzles up other fish and can grow to 3m long! Why is it so deadly? It has teeth on the roof of its mouth and on its tongue!

This area of immense beauty is sometimes referred to as “The Lungs of the Earth” since the rich vegetation produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen. This canopy of trees and other vegetation is so thick it covers the Amazon floor with permanent darkness; and, when it rains, it takes around ten minutes for the water to reach the ground!

The Javarí River rises between the Amazon state, Brazil, and Peru. It flows northeast for 540 miles to join the Amazon River near the Brazilian town of Benjamin Constant. It too flows a winding course through tropical rain forest.   (National Geographic Kids)