For people interested in venturing to countries that call the Amazon rainforest their own, such as Brazil and Colombia, exploring the world’s largest tropical rainforest is appealing.
Featured in movies and documentaries over the years, the area is famed for its biodiversity in particular and represents a truly life-changing adventure for people to embark on. In fact, alongside being featured in Hollywood productions and documentaries narrated by David Attenborough, the Amazon is so famous that it even has a slot game named after it, with the Amazon Wild game featuring some of the wild creatures that frequent the rainforest. The Amazon’s appeal, therefore, spreads far beyond just the South American countries, with this luxuriant vegetation intriguing the entire world. Not everyone knows everything about it, though. With that in mind, here are 10 interesting facts about the Amazon below.
The Amazon is larger than Mexico
Larger in size than countries like Mexico and only a tad smaller than Saudi Arabia, the Amazon rainforest would be the 14th largest country on the planet if it was a country.
A large proportion of the planet’s food comes from there
A remarkable fact when you really think about it, more than 80% of the food we consume on earth originates from the Amazon rainforest.
Spanish explorer Francisco Orellana is behind the name
Now familiar to people around the world, the Amazon’s name came from Spanish explorer Francisco Orellana. The Spaniard was attacked during his adventures in the region, resulting in him comparing the rainforest’s inhabitants to the Amazons of Greek mythology.
More than 20% of the world’s oxygen is produced there
The concerns around the deforestation of the Amazon are understandable, particularly when considering that more than 20% of the world’s oxygen comes from it. As such, it’s entirely understandable why protecting it is so important to people.
Speaking of the devastating impact deforestation of the Amazon is having, 30% of our carbon emissions actually come from there. In 2020 alone, 11,088 square kilometres of rainforest was lost in Brazil, which is essentially an area that is approximately seven times the size of England’s capital city, London.
Martin Strel swam the river
Given the extreme conditions, swimming the Amazon river is dangerously tough. In 2007, that’s exactly what Martin Strel managed to achieve, taking him 66 days with ten hours worth of swimming each day. That’s some achievement!
Pharmaceuticals come from rainforest-based ingredients
Given the aforementioned fact that the Amazon is larger than countries like Mexico, its sheer size means that it must be home to a large selection of different things. Pharmaceutical companies have already reaped the rewards, with around 25% of western pharmaceuticals said to come from the array of ingredients that can be found in the rainforest.
Nine countries can call the Amazon their own
Alongside the aforementioned Brazil and Colombia, you can experience the Amazon from countries such as Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and the three Guyanas, making it nine countries overall.
3,000 fruits in the Amazon
While the Amazon is home to 30% of the world’s animal species and around 40,000 different plant species, it also has more than 3000 different fruits, although we only eat around 200 of them in the western world.
It’s a dark place
Perhaps not shown accurately in certain movies in particular, although occasionally on show in a number of documentaries that are based on this fascinating part of the world, the floor of the rainforest is actually very dark due to the canopy of trees that stop the light from shining through. As such, less than 1% of light makes its way onto the floor.