The Rainforest And It's River

The Amazon River is as mysterious as it is big. Here is a place on Earth that has been explored a lot and yet we still don't know all the secrets it holds. There are reputed to be insects of giant proportions, poisonous creatures of all kinds, and cannibals. It is one of the most important areas of our planet. Let's have a little fun with some facts about the Amazon.

The Amazon River is about 4000 miles long. During the wet season, it can be up to 30 miles wide.

The Amazon River pours about 20% of the fresh water into the oceans at a rate of about 3.4 million gallons per minute or 8 trillion gallons per day. .

There are no bridges crossing the Amazon River. Bridges can be built large enough but most of the river flows through rainforest so bridges are not needed.

Most medicine men and shaman living in the Amazon Rainforest are more than 70 years old. If they die and don't pass their knowledge on, much information about the medicinal qualities of plants and animals there will be lost.

Covering about 2.5 million acres, the Amazon Rainforest is the largest rainforest on the planet.

The Amazon River was first discovered by Europeans when it was noticed that they were about 200 miles away in the ocean and realized they were sailing in fresh water. Today boats still stop at the mouth of the Amazon to clean barnacles from their hulls.

Because of the huge amount of water and its speed flowing into the ocean, there is not a delta of soil deposits as it empties into the ocean.

The Amazon Rainforest is also called Amazonia. It is known as the lungs of our planet because the vegetation converts carbon dioxide into 15 to 20% of the Earth's oxygen.

The name of the Amazon came from Spanish explorers. They were attacked by Icamiabas or "women without husbands". This compared to the Amazon women of mythology.

Scientists have catalogued 2500 species of fish, 1500 species of birds, 1800 species of butterflies, 4 kinds of big cats, 200 species of mosquitoes, and 50, 000 species of higher plants.

At least 80% of the world's food originated in the rainforest. There are more than 3000 types of fruit. We use around 200 of these. The natives use more than 2000.

Some of the most monstrous of the creatures found in the Amazon Rainforest are piranha, the anaconda, and catfish that weigh up to 200 pounds.

The four layers of the rainforest are: the canopy, the understory, the forest floor, and the emergent layer.

We believe there were 10 million indigenous people living in the rainforest five hundred years ago. Today there are less than 200 thousand. More than 90 tribes have been completely destroyed since 1900. Many of the tribes that remain have never had any contact with the outside world. 

The United States Cancer Institute has identified 3000 plants that actively fight cancer cells. Seventy percent of them are found in the rainforest. Twenty-five percent of the active ingredients used in fighting cancer at this time are found only in organisms living in the rainforest.

That just touches the very tip of information about the Amazon River and Rainforest. I hope each of you finds this enough of a tease to dig a little deeper and teach me some more.


  1. Very informative indeed. 10 million people! That sounds unbelievable.
    That little bluebird keeps getting in the way, so all I know is that 90 tribes have been destroyed since 1... drat! :-)

  2. I love Ratty's bluebird. Just drop you page until he has to fly down. Then you can read all of every post. As far as the ten million people, it is so sad that almost every time humans have moved into a previously unknown area, they feel the need to do away with the humans already there.


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