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The Amazon River

The Amazon River has the largest drainage basin in the world, with over 1,000 tributaries flowing into it. It is the second longest river in the world, being 3,250 miles long. Its source is in Lago Villafro in the Andes Mountains, Peru and it flows eastwards to its mouth in Brazil where it enters the Atlantic Ocean.


Its width varies between 1.5 and 10 km, but during the wet season it can become several times wider than this.

River scene1

The river is the main route of traffic in northern Brazil. Most cities are on the banks of the river, the biggest city being Manaus which is home to over 1.7 million people

Manaus - AM

Animals that live in the river include:
  • the Amazon river dolphin (called 'boto') which: are coloured pink, use echolocation to find their prey in the murky river water and don’t have a dorsal fin, instead they have a humped back;
Delfin Orinoko
  • anaconda snakes which are one of the largest snakes in the world and occasionally attack larger animals such as goats that get to close the water;
  • piranha which are carnivorous fish which attack in groups, preying on livestock that strays into the water.
Piranha folp

The main environmental issue affecting the River Amazon is deforestation because this removes the trees whose roots help to bind the soil together, making it easier for soil to erode into the river, deposit onto its bed and then cause it to flood.