The Amazon Rainforest (in Portuguese, Floresta Amazônica or Amazônia; Spanish Selva Amazónica,Amazonía or usually Amazonia), also known in English as Amazonia or the Amazon Jungle, is a moistbroadleaf forest that covers most of the Amazon Basin of South America. This basin encompassesseven million square kilometers (1.7 billion acres), of which five and a half million square kilometers(1.4 billion acres) are covered by the rainforest. This region includes territory belonging to nine nations.
The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with 60% of the rainforest, followed by Peru with13%, Colombia with 10%, and with minor amounts in, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Surinameand French Guiana. States or departments in four nations contain "Amazonas" in their names. TheAmazon represents over half of the planet's remaining rainforests, and it comprises the largest and mostspecies-rich tract of tropical rainforest in the world. The rainforest likely formed during the Eocene era.It appeared following a global reduction of tropical temperatures when the Atlantic Ocean had widenedsufficiently to provide a warm, moist climate to the Amazon basin.
In addition to being the largest, the Amazon rainforest is also home to the most different species of plants and animals. There are mind blowing numbers of species living here. Last count identified at least 40,000 plant species, 3000 fish species, 428 species of amphibians and 378 of reptiles. Further there are 427 species of mammals and 1294 of birds. In fact, one out of every five birds on Earth lives in Amazonia. Perhaps the most staggering number is that of insect species: 2.5 million different species. The tapir and leafcutter ant are two species that reside here.
Amazonia is often thought of as having oversize animals and being a dangerous place. There are more than a few giant creatures here but most of the goings on are typical. Among the largest predators in the Amazon rainforest are the anaconda, jaguar, cougar and the black caiman. Other dangerous critters people should avoid are poison dart frogs, electric eels, piranha and even vampire bats that can spread rabies. Yellow fever and malaria are also associated with the region.
As for the river of the same name, it is the second largest river in the world with an average discharge that surpasses that of the next six rivers combined. The river width ranges from. 99 miles and its narrowest and 6.2 miles at the widest. The source is the Andes Mountains and the mouth is the Atlantic Ocean. Its length is approximately 4200 miles and runs through three countries: Brazil, Peru and Colombia. Like the Amazon rainforest, the River is home to large numbers of plant and animal species. 2100 fish species swim here, such as the bull shark, and new species are discovered every year. Along with fish are aquatic mammals such as the River Dolphin, Amazonian Manatee and the giant otter. Also supported are algae, crabs, turtles and other reptiles.