Happy World Rivers Day!

It’s World Rivers Day—a global celebration of Earth’s expansive waterways and the life they support!

Published September 29, 2014

Did you know that at 4,195 miles long, the Amazon River basin is one of the largest in the world? In fact, about one-fifth of the world’s freshwater is contained in the Amazon River basin. Encompassing 15,000 tributaries and spanning a massive 2.7 million square miles, the basin covers about 40% of South America. The width of this vast waterway ranges anywhere from one to 35 miles.


Like many rivers, the Amazon supports an array of plant and animal life—the basin is home to about 10% of the world’s known species. Between the months of June and October, the river floods, forcing its inhabitants to adapt to a changing landscape.

Species migrate into the flooded forests to reproduce and eat. Some feed on the fruit of trees growing in the floodplain, which in turn aids seed dispersal, helping to continue the forest’s lifecycle.

Want to learn more about the animals that call the Amazon River basin home? Click here.

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