10 amazing Amazon facts!
Get ready to rumble in the jungle!
Ready for an amazing outdoor adventure with Nat Geo Kids? Then check out our awesome Amazon facts as we head into the depths of the Amazon rainforest!
1. The Amazon is the world’s largest tropical rainforest. Covering over 5.5 million square kilometres, it’s so big that the UK and Ireland would fit into it 17 times!
2. The Amazon is found in South America, spanning across Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
3. Running through the north of the rainforest is the Amazon River — a network of many hundreds of waterways that stretches 6,840km. Although there is some debate, most scientists agree that the Amazon is the world’s second longest river after the River Nile.
4. In 2007, a man named Martin Strel swam the entire length of the Amazon river! To complete his splashing jungle journey, Martin powered through the water for up to ten hours a day for 66 days!
5. Around 400-500 indigenous Amerindian tribes call the Amazon rainforest home. It’s believed that about fifty of these tribes have never had contact with the outside world!
6. The Amazon has an incredibly rich ecosystem – there are around 40,000 plant species, 1,300 bird species, 3,000 types of fish, 430 mammals and a whopping 2.5 million different insects. Wow!
7. The Amazon is home to a whole host of fascinating – and deadly! – creatures, including electric eels, flesh eating piranhas, poison dart frogs, jaguars and some seriously venomous snakes.
8. One fascinating fish found in the Amazon is the Pirarucu (also known as the arapaima or paiche). A menacing meat-eater, the pirarucu guzzles up other fish and can grow to nearly 3m long! And what makes it super deadly? It has teeth on the roof of its mouth and on its tongue!
9. This area of immense natural beauty plays an important role in limiting climate change. This is because the rich vegetation takes carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) out of the air and releases oxygen. You can learn more about this in our feature on the lifecycle of plants!
10. Due to the thickness of the canopy (the top branches and leaves of the trees), the Amazon floor is in permanent darkness. In fact, it’s so thick that when it rains, it takes around ten minutes for the water to reach the ground!