The Amazon is the world’s largest tropical rainforest. Covering over 5.5 million square kilometers, it’s so big that the UK and Ireland would fit into it 17 times.
The Amazon is found in South America, spanning across Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. Brazil has 60% of the Amazon, Peru has 13%, and Colombia has 10% while other countries have very small parts of the rainforest within their borders.
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.
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.
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.
The Amazon is home to a whole host of fascinating and deadly creatures, including bullet ants, electric eels, flesh eating piranhas, poison dart frogs, jaguars and some seriously venomous snakes.
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!
This area of immense natural beauty is sometimes referred to as“the lungs of the Earth”. This is because the rich vegetation takes carbon dioxide out of the air, and releases oxygen back in. In fact, more than 20% of the world’s oxygen is produced by the Amazon.
Due to the thickness of the canopy, 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!
1. canopy :____________
2. ecosystem :____________
3. tropical :____________
4. species :____________
5. vegetation :____________
(A) Coming from or existing in the hottest parts of the world.
(B) A group of animals really plants whose members are similar and can breed together to produce young animals or plants.
(C) A layer of something that spreads out and covers an area, for example the branches and leaves that spread out at the top of trees in a forest.
(D) Plants in general, such as trees, and flowers.
(E) All the animals and plants in a particular area, and the way in which they are related to each other and to their environment.