The Amazon River, which flows through South America, is one of the longest rivers in the world. Besides this, the Amazon River is the largest source of freshwater to the world’s oceans. Being such a large and grand river, you might be curious as to how wide is the Amazon River at its widest point? Let’s find out.
The Widest Point of the Amazon River
The Amazon River is currently the widest in the world, extending to an impressive 7 miles at its broadest section. This distance was measured on March 18, 2005, a Guinness World Record. This record was registered during the dry months to determine its actual width.
During the wet months, the river’s widest point expands and can reach a length of up to almost 25 miles. In contrast, the Amazon River’s width covers roughly 42,400 square miles in dry periods. As you can see, this measurement triples during the wet season. Also, during the wet months, the width of the Amazon River can stretch over approximately 135,000 square miles.
Exploring the Amazon River
The Amazon River is one of the lengthiest in the world and is over 4,000 miles long. However, as highlighted, the river coverage triples during the wet months, spreading over only 68,000 square miles of land in the dry months.
Additionally, the river basin expands to cover nearly 220,000 square miles of land in the rainy season. Another vital characteristic of the Amazon River is that it drains an area of more than 2,722,000 square miles, almost 40% of South America.
One of the functions of the Amazon River is to release freshwater into the Atlantic Ocean. When the rainy season comes to the area, the Amazon River then releases up to 1,000,000 square feet of freshwater per second into the Atlantic Ocean. This discharge of freshwater comprises up to one-fifth of all the freshwater that enters the oceans across the world.
The Sources of the Amazon River
The upper part of the Amazon River consists of a range of major river systems in Peru that flow into the Marañón River. These rivers are the:
The Amazon River’s starting source is in the Andes Mountains’ glaciers, known as the Nevado de Yarupa. The Marañón River originates in these glaciers and flows down for 1,000 miles before joining the Ucayali River. This location is the true source of the Amazon River.
Another fascinating fact linked to the Amazon River is that the Marañón River has a range of main tributaries: the Crisnejas, Chimayo, Urtcubamba, Cenepa, Santiago, Moroña, Pastaza, Huallaga, and Tiger rivers.
Another significant source of the Amazon River is a glacial stream that originates from the Nevado Mismi peak in the Peruvian Andes. From this point, it streams into the Quebradas Carhuasanta and Apacheta rivers, flowing into the Río Apurímac River. The Río Apurímac River is a tributary of the Ucayali, leading to the Amazon River.
Animals Found in the Amazon River
With such a lush tropical environment, it is hardly surprising that the Amazon River is home to thousands of species of fish and mammals. Here, you will find over 2,500 species of fish within the river system, many still unidentified. Many fish types in the river are migratory and move in large schools when it is time to spawn. Interestingly, the river is also home to commercial fish species like the pirarucu and giant catfish.
You may have heard of the notorious piranha, a small fish that feeds on the flesh of any animal or human that crosses its path. If so, know that it has made the Amazon River its home and should be one that you fear or at least treat with the respect due to its vicious nature. Beautiful tropical fish live here too, which people use for food, breeding, and even aquariums.
Alligators, river turtles, and manatees are other everyday residents of the Amazon River. However, many are endangered as they are hunted for their skins, eggs, or flesh that people process for oil. River dolphins, semiaquatic capybara, the world’s largest rodents, and nutria are other familiar sightings in and along river banks.
Animals Found Alongside the Amazon River
The Amazon Rainforest embraces the Amazon River and is the living space of millions of animals and insects. Popular animals in the Amazon forest include two types of arboreal sloths, three types of anteaters, armadillos, and iguanas. However, arguably the most popular creatures in the Amazon are the nonpoisonous boa constrictor and anaconda. These snakes can grow to 30 feet in length.
Animals that are native to the Amazon are the tapir, the white-lipped peccary, and a range of deer species. You will see water buffalo in the Amazon that immigrants brought from Southeast Asia. In addition, many carnivores roam the rainforest. Examples are the rare jaguar and ocelot, pumas, coati, grisons, weasels, and even vampire bats.
The Amazon is home to a range of monkey species, with two typical residents being the noisy howlers and the spider monkeys. Other types are woolly, capuchin, titis, sakis, and marmosets. Monkeys are a food source in the Amazon and are often sold at meat markets.
The skies of the Amazon are full of birds, no matter the time of day. You will encounter beautiful parrots and macaws, caciques, and hoatzins. Other types like carnivorous birds also live in the Amazon, like various hawks and eagles. And, the trees are home to woodpeckers and toucans, while parakeets fill the skies. Waterbirds like herons, cormorants, roseate spoonbills, scarlet ibises, tinamous, quail, and nightjars are other familiar sights in the Amazon.
Insects Living Near the Amazon River
Insects should be included in any discussion about the Amazon River, and rainforest as over 8,000 species live in this environment. Notably, there are still countless species of insects that have not been discovered or classified. Typical residents include:
- Leaf-Cutter Ants
- Stinging Bees
- Giant Spiders
Visit the widest river in the world for a fantastic experience. But if you can’t go there yourself, find out more about the world here at A-Z Animals.
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