A guide to the fascinating Amazon

Amazon rainforest, ©CIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture/Flickr

The Amazon rainforest is the largest tropical rainforest in the world. It covers over five and a half million square kilometers. More than half of the Amazon is located in Brazil (60%), but it is also located in other South American countries as Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Guyana, Colombia, French Guiana, Suriname and Bolivia. If Amazonia were a country, it would be the ninth largest in the world. The Amazon rainforest is the most powerful natural phenomenon on the planet.

Fauna

The Amazon rainforest contains as many as 125 mammal species, 100 of reptiles, 60 of amphibians, 400 species of birds, and 150 different species of butterflies. There are some nice examples of the Amazon rainforest fauna.

Some species

  • Spider monkey, the canopy dweller is eating seeds, fruits and leaves. It can grow up to two feet tall. Other species include: squirrel monkey, woolly monkey, capuchin monkey, pigmy marmoset and red howler monkey.
  • Giant River Otter can grow up to 6 feet long and a weight of around 70 pounds. It is the biggest of its kind in the world and eats mostly fish, birds and small reptiles.
  • Capybara is the biggest rodent on Earth, about 2 feet tall and a weight of around 100 pounds, an excellent swimmer, lives and sleeps in the water and showing only its nostrils above water level. Capybara eats melon, grass, aquatic vegetation, and squashes.
  • Jaguar is one of the most dangerous animals in the Amazon rainforest. It is an excellent hunter, it climbs trees and it is able to swim after turtles or pirarucus. The jaguar is about 6 feet long and can reach up to 250 pounds in weight.

Jaguar, ©Brimack/Flickr

  • Amazonian Manatee, the largest of all marine mammals can reach up to three meters long and 450 kg in weight.
  • Toucan, with thick, short neck, is distinguished by its colorful and large beak (blue, red, white, black or combinations). It can grow from about 7 inches to over 2 feet.
  • Macaw is the largest of the parrot family and it has a hooked, sharp beak ideal for eating fruits, nuts and fruits. It can reach from 1 foot to 3 feet in size.
  • Amazon Pink River Dolphin is one of the most beautiful animals of the Amazon River, surrounded by all kinds of legends and myths of the jungle.
  • Piranha is the most feared creature in the Amazon River. It has a razor-like teeth that can shred flesh from bone in a matter of seconds.
  • Black Caiman is the largest predator in the Amazon River and it can grow to 20 feet long and reach up to 3,000 pounds in weight.
  • Anaconda grows the rest of his life, reaching up to 21 feet long. It doesn’t eat often, as it will take one week or more to digest, according to the size of the prey.

Flora

Amazon rainforest, ©CIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture/Flickr

The Amazon rainforest has a giant live collection of flora species: in 2.5 acres of the forest you can find 700 different species of trees and twice that number of plants. One of the most beautiful things you will observe is that the forest has a high density of trees and they are very tall.

Some species

  • Bromeliads: There are more than 2700 species of bromeliads. The most well-known bromeliad is the pineapple, we eat.  They can have many colors like red, blue, purple, and orange. A very interesting thing about the bromeliads is that they can hold water from the rainfall.
  • The orchids are very famous for their beautiful flowers and can be found in the Amazon rainforest as well. They smells strongly that attracts insects that pollinate them.
  • The Kapok Tree is the biggest tree of the Amazon rainforest, it can grow to 200 feet tall. This tree is usually the home for insects, frogs and birds. They are very useful because they are actually the ones that fertilize the Kapok over the Amazon rainforest.

Kapok tree, ©ggallice/Flickr

  • The Water Lily can reach six feet in diameter and is the biggest flower in the world. This amazing giant can be found in the calm waters. They are so big, very thin, so they can float on the water.
  • Heliconia: We can find there more than 40 species of Heliconia, often their colors are mixed in the same leaf creating marvelous combinations. The flowers are mainly hidden among the beautiful leaf structure. They are very precious as ornamental plants and are popular as so beloved garden flowers because of their special structure and amazing colors.

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