We all know about the Amazon by now, right? It’s a great website with tons of products you can buy from the comfortability of your own home. All joking aside, the website gets its name from the real place in South America. We find out new things about the rainforest seemingly every year. There are even hidden secrets of the Amazon Rainforest that could be life-changing. Sometimes, it’s even a massive shock to see what comes out of there.
One of the most amazing things about the Amazon is just that, the secrets hidden within. A lot of people know the place for being a big rainforest that is often nicknamed the “lungs of the Earth.” It is true that the Amazon Rainforest supplies around 20% of the world’s oxygen every day. However, its secrets are much more impressive.
For example, did you know that a new species of animal or plant are found here every three days? Seriously, every three days! On average, this is more than double anywhere else on the Earth outside of the world’s oceans. The Amazon has been in the news lately due to notable fires. The fires have become so massive that you can even see them from space. However, for centuries fires have actually been common here.
In fact, tribes in the area used to have controlled fires here. It actually helped the overall forest and even promoted growth. The fires, thankfully, seem to be easing up as of late compared to recent ones that got out of hand. This recent news about the rainforest led many to discuss it more. Some even speculate man set the fires to hide the secrets within. That led to creating our list of the hidden secrets of the Amazon Rainforest. Enjoy!
35. The Amazon is home to the largest spider on the planet
Our list will focus on a lot of things, but you will often see animals making the list due to their uniqueness. The Amazon is home to a ton of amazing animal species that are not native to any other place on Earth. The rainforest has more species of spiders than any other place as well. A whopping 3,600 species of spider can be found here. However, none compare to the Goliath.
It is officially called the Goliath Birdeater Spider. This spider is a part of the tarantula family and measures out to around 13 to 15 centimeters. As its name suggests, it is so large that it will attack and eat various birds. Despite the size, humans have nothing to fear about the Goliath. It is not harmful to humans, but it could scare you to death if you’re not careful.
34. Only about 1% of sunlight gets through the rainforest on a given day
One of the most interesting secrets about the Amazon Rainforest is that the floor of the Amazon rarely sees the sun. In fact, most of the time the sun will not get through the canopies. This is one of the biggest reasons the Amazon can stay wet for so long, even if no rain is present for a while.
The trees are so thick that tribes have had to clear them out to have open land over the thousands of years they have been present here. It can get so bad that only 1% of total sunlight can make its way through on a given day in the rainforest. This is an issue for 95% of the rainforest too, not just one section.
33. The plants in the Amazon are absolutely massive
In a world where the environment is wet and perfect for plant life to grow and thrive, some of the most interesting and unique plants tend to live. The Amazon is home to thousands of plants that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. This includes some of the biggest plants on the planet too. One such plant is known as the Rafflesia flower.
This plant is the largest flower on the planet that we know of so far. Another impressively large flower is known as Amorphophallus Titanum, which goes by the nickname of the “Corpse Plant.” While it looks like it can eat you, the name actually comes from the horrific smell it gives off when it blooms. Thankfully, the Corpse Plant only blooms a few times during the 40-year average lifetime that these plants tend to have.
While there are several different types of ants both in the Amazon and around the world, very few can hold up to the Bullet Ant. This is the largest ant species known today and they happen to be located all over the rainforest. In fact, you could literally walk in any direction you choose in the Amazon and come across them pretty quickly.
Due to their larger size, their colonies tend to carry larger contents back to the main ant bed. Their overall homes are also better protected than others, likely due to needing to be smart with rain being a constant issue. They can even hold onto each other to stay alive during rainstorms. Most believe the Bullet Ant gets its name from the insanely painful bite they are known for. This bite will hurt for 24 hours and be just as intense from the first hour to the twenty-fourth.
31. The Plastic-Eating Fungus, known as Pestalotiopsis Microspora
The Amazon Rainforest is known for some absolutely terrible parasites and funguses. You cannot possibly get into a place more filled with germs, parasites, fungus, and even tapeworms. However, one fungus seems to stand out among them all and yet it remained one of the biggest secrets of the Amazon Rainforest until recently. Found on local mushrooms, it truly stands out as possibly world-changing because it can actually eat or dissolve plastic and polyurethane.
Known as Pestalotiopsis Microspora, the fungus was extracted by a Yale student named Pria Anand on a random trip to the Amazon and taken back for sampling. She took about 60 samples of the stuff home with her, testing them all. One managed to grow and survive without access to oxygen. Many feel if we used this fungus in the right way, it could be unleashed into the world’s oceans and slowly cut down on the plastic pollution spread throughout.
We all know about the amazing sight that is Stonehenge. While it can be seen in England, there have been other places that look similar to it over the years. However, one place we never thought we’d see something close to it is in the Amazon. Yet that is exactly where the impressive “Silkhenge” calls home. For years it had been a huge secret of the Amazon Rainforest, only having been discovered in 2013.
Troy Alexander was actually visiting Peru’s Tambopata National Reserve when he randomly came across this silk version of Stonehenge under a tarpaulin. He posted the image on Reddit to see if anything knew something about it. To his astonishment, Troy was the first to discover this amazing sight. While we are still unsure what spider made it, the reason for the spider’s creation seems to have been to protect eggs and baby spiders from other insects that want to eat them.
In the Amazon, you have to stay alive in any way you can. For the smallest animals, the best protection they can possibly have is some form of camouflage. For the Leaf-Mimic Katydid, they have managed to find an amazing way to avoid predators. They can look exactly like a leaf. So much so, they’re almost an exact copy of one that can be hard for anyone to spot.
The latter part of their name, “katydid,” comes from the noise that they make while rubbing their legs together. They are actually used by some natives as a measure of temperature too. Their “stridulation” is conditioned by the temperature around them, so you can count up the katydids to see the temperature. Of course, this is only for the Fahrenheit scale of measurement.
Known by many as “The Jesus Lizard,” they are actually called Common Basilisks. Why are they called the Jesus Lizard, you ask? You should check out some video of these amazing things. They can actually run on water. We’re not talking about your standard puddle that they get lucky with. We’re talking about things like ponds and even small sections of rivers! They don’t always run on the water but when they do, it’s often due to needing to run from a predator or catch a meal of some kind.
These lizards have special webbing between their toes, once opened up, this allows them to help keep stable on the top of the water. It’s almost like flippers, except for running across water. The basic principles of their running ability are similar to skipping a rock across the water. Their speed plus the webbing allows them to stay upright on the top of the water, never sinking in the process.
27. Currently, there are 81 known ancient settlements found in the Amazon
Often ignored by those around the world, people have lived in the Amazon Rainforest for centuries. This shocked several when people decided to leave the comfort of their homes to visit the Amazon years ago. Tribes have lived here so long that several ancient settlements can be found across the entire rainforest. Currently, there are 81 such settlements known. This is the figure we have as of March 2018, but archaeologists believe we will come across more as time goes on.
In fact, many are counting on it. Jonas Gregorio de Souza, a noted Archaeologist, along with some colleagues, found that the first settlements seem to have been built from 1250 to 1500 AD. They went on to hypothesize that hundreds of other settlements like this could be present in the Amazon. This meant as many as 1 million people could have lived across the Amazon before Europeans arrived.
One of the biggest secrets of the Amazon Rainforest is something that many are both glad and very afraid of. The Amazon has a river that is known to those that discovered it as “The Boiling River.” The name comes honestly to this river, as it truly could be considered boiling. The river gets as hot as 200 degrees Fahrenheit. It is considered so dangerous, that even animals stay far away from it.
So how did the river get so hot and remain that way? The locals believe it is a place of power that is clearly stuff from a Water God of some kind. For those of us who aren’t quite sure about Water Gods, scientists believe it is due to a drilling company that accidentally released gasses from inside the earth into the river many years ago. Although, no one is quite sure as of this writing, so a Water God is still possible.
Owls can be found all over the world, so it should come as a shock to no one that they are also found in the Amazon Rainforest too. One species, known as the Patoo, is thought to be one of the most impressive and patient owls known. While many owls are capable of remaining still, these owls take things to an entirely new level. Many think this owl species is actually crazy too.
They are known for some absolutely insane faces as well as their unpredictable behavior. It makes them tough to know how to be around them. These owls are also known to be masters of disguise. During the day, their eyes are half-closed and they perch on stumps and branches. They seem to blend in perfectly here. At night, it is impossible to spot these nocturnal creatures because anywhere they seem to go allows them to perfectly camouflage into the environment.
Everyone knows the Amazon Rainforest is quite large. However, very few seem to know exactly how big the place actually is, it seems. To some, this may not be one of the biggest secrets of the Amazon Rainforest, but it is still a big deal to know about, in our opinion. For those unaware, the Amazon stretches across nine different countries in South America.
Those countries are Brazil, Columbia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, French Guiana, Guyana, and The Republic of Suriname. Most seem to know about Brazil’s relation to the Rainforest but the others are often forgotten about. Yet they are just as important to know, so be sure to remember these places too!
There is one thing that many have come to remember about the Amazon Rainforest. They are home to some of the most beautiful yet also dangerous animals on the planet. In fact, it is said today that if an animal looks beautiful, never trust it. This is usually just a distraction. When it comes to Poison Dart Frogs, this may hold ground. The frogs get their name from what they are actually used for.
These absolutely beautiful frogs eat certain types of insects that are only found in the Amazon. This allows them to secrete a form of poison that tribes have used for poison darts for several centuries. While people seem to know about the frogs, they may not know that touching them can be a huge risk. Due to secreting poison, it’s on their skin all the time. Picking one up without proper hand protection risks exposure to it. Even other animals steer clear of these little guys.
While many people seem to know that the Amazon Rainforest is home to a lot of poisonous snakes, some may not be aware that they also have the biggest. Many constricting snakes live here, such as the infamous boa. However, the most feared snake is known as the Anaconda. These snakes regularly get up to 20 feet in length and can weigh hundreds of pounds too. This is also the largest snake in the world today!
There are stories of the anaconda eating animals completely whole. In fact, there is a story of a sleeping man who woke up to find himself being swallowed whole by one. Luckily, he managed to escape but he’s not the only man this happened to. Like the boa, Anaconda Snakes are not poisonous and tend to squeeze the life out of their prey. Unlike the boa, the largeness of the Anaconda allows for it to swallow things whole, so it will often not even need to squeeze some prey before eating.
21. The Walking Trees of the Amazon, (You read this correctly)
This seems like something out of science fiction or fantasy movies but they’re actually real. To some, these trees are still one of the biggest secrets of the Amazon Rainforest but we wanted to expose them! Some people may be thinking that these trees are growing feet and walking around. However, it’s not exactly like that. They do move, however, leading to their name.
Essentially, these “Walking Palms” or Cashopona Trees, grow new roots in place of old ones. Each time they do so, the newest roots grow where the sunlight hits them best. This means their movement can be incredibly slow. You may also likely never notice their movement like something out of Alice in Wonderland or Lord of the Rings. However, you can take measurements over time and see their full movement pattern.
There are several things that the Amazon Rainforest has kept secret over the years. However, one of the biggest secrets of the Amazon Rainforest might be a certain tribe that used to be present here. The story comes from a man by the name of Percival Fawcett, a British Explorer who navigated the rainforest for years, often writing home about his adventures. He claims to have come in contact with a tribe known as the Maricoxi.
He described them as “sasquatch-like,” claiming that they were hairy creatures that actually threatened his entire party with bows and arrows. Fawcett went on to say that they could only grunt when communicating. Fawcett did discover a lot of things and was well-known for his true stories of adventure. However, he is also known for the “wild tales” he told too. Some believe the Maricoxi Sasquatches are just that and not a true tribe found here.
19. We’ve already lost a big chunk of the Amazon Rainforest
One of the saddest things to see in this world is when a life of any kind dies unrightfully. Trees and plants are living beings the same as us humans. While not exactly the same, their life and death impact the entire ecosystem. While the fires in the rainforest as of late are troubling, this is nothing new for the area. According to the World Wildlife Fund, so far we’ve lost 17% of the total Amazon Rainforest in the last 50 years alone. That was before the recent fires!
The main reason for this is that people are converting the forest into open land to raise cattle. Deforestation seems to be the most common the closer you get to cities or where people live the most. There is even a startling amount of open spots in remote areas that are being used up by humans. Some of this involves tribes but greedy people are the main issue here, as they often tear down the rainforest in their quest for gold and oil.
Everyone loves dolphins, right? Who could possibly hate one of these intelligent mammals? Dolphins are amazing and will usually be noticed with a greyish coloring. However, one of the coolest secrets of the Amazon Rainforest has gotten out. There are actually pink dolphins in the area. Known as Amazon River Dolphins due to where they are, scientists are still uncertain why they are pink.
There are some that suggest it has to do with blood capillaries near the surface of their skin. On top of this, there’s a very compelling legend that surrounds them. Apparently, these pink dolphins transform into men in the evening hours, and in this disguise, they seduce local women. When sunrise hits, they become dolphins once more with the women also turning into one to travel the rivers in pink forevermore.
One of the weirdest yet most impressive creatures found in the Amazon today is a tiny spider species known as the Decoy-Building Spider. Apparently, they realize their size is an issue and predators will take advantage. This leads them to make decoys of other larger spiders in their webbing. It may not look like impressive art that you’d see from Leonardo Da Vinci.
However, a freaking spider made it. It just goes to show that several creatures can be intelligent like humans and even understand complex materials, such as art. This had been one of the biggest secrets of the Amazon Rainforest until relatively recently. It was discovered at the Tambopata Research Center, where more study continues to take place into this species.
16. The Amazon supplies us with most of our medications
One of the coolest things about the Amazon Rainforest is that it has a ton of tremendous plants that are therapeutic and can be made into medications with other ingredients. Most of the medications that have anti-cancer properties come from this region, 70% in fact. Certain medications like Quinine, a major aid in the cure for Malaria, can be found here. On top of this, Alkaloid D-Tubocurarine is native to the Amazon and has treated various issues for the tribes of the area over the years.
We found that it is a massive help for things like Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, as well as other muscular disorders. Due to its help with pain, it’s often used as an anesthetic for surgical procedures. In total, around 25% of ALL Western Medicine has some type of ingredient from the Amazon. That is around 7,000 different medications prescribed by doctors today. There is still so much to explore here too, as only 1% of the trees and plants here have been tested!
We all know by now that the Amazon Rainforest is quite famous for its incredibly large river known simply as The Amazon River. However, often kept on the down-low is just how large it actually is. In fact, it might be one of the biggest secrets of the Amazon Rainforest today. This river is not the technical “biggest” river on the planet sadly.
However, it is likely the longest river known. It stretches out to a little over 4,344 miles or around 6,992 kilometers. In total, this river contains more water than the Mississippi, Nile, and Yangtze Rivers combined! We can likely argue for years about the depth it goes to as well as the width. Yet it seems pretty clear in length, the Amazon River is number one!
One of the coolest things about the Rainforest is that there are things not really known about it that even the rainforest itself would have trouble knowing about. The case in point is the Amazon Rings, which pre-date the rainforest. The rings are a complete mystery and one of the biggest secrets of the Amazon Rainforest today. They have stumped archeologists and anthropologists for decades.
One popular theory is that they were left by alien UFOs as they were passing through or leaving Earth centuries ago. The lines look similar to what you see in the infamous Nazca Lines. The most popular theory that many believe to be true is that the rings are man-made. Scientists believe that early humans made them before the forest grew around them. Yet they have no answer for the tools likely needed to make them. It’ll likely always be a huge mystery!
13. It’s likely you’re eating food from the Amazon right now
It’s probably not a secret that the Amazon Rainforest has a ton of trees and plant life. We’ve also been going over the several different unique animals found here too. Yet this does not even come close to the variety found in this vast South American rainforest. Currently, it is estimated that 80% of the world’s food originally came from the Amazon Rainforest.
The rainforest contains over 3,000 different fruits too. Yet out of all of these fruits, humans only consume around an estimated 200 of them. While those living here seem to enjoy the variety, it seems the western world even knows what some fruit here even looks like. It is estimated that every two and a half acres, you can find more than 750 types of trees and 1,500 types of plants. Thus, it’s possible that even the tribal people here have yet to discover all of the life in the area.
We know what you’re thinking right now. You’ve seen a lot of these animals and you probably assumed some were here like snakes and spiders already. None of that shocked you most likely. However, what is this about an Assassin Caterpillar, you ask? The original name of the creature is the Lanomia, but it is nicknamed “The Assassin Caterpillar” due to killing several people over the years.
At one point, deaths became so common that scientists had to track one down to find a cure for its toxin. The poison is a form of hemotoxin. Essentially, it can cause severe internal hemorrhaging, renal failure, and even something called hemolysis. People usually run into them by accident more often than not. They are easy to miss and step, sit, or lean on. Hundreds have died after coming in contact with them, making them one of the deadliest animals of the Amazon today.
One has to wonder how the world could have missed something so large. When we talk secrets of the Amazon Rainforest, no one expected giants. However, it seems odd that we wouldn’t though. Several plants and animals here are impressively large, so would it not make sense that people here could also be large too? Deep in Ecuador’s side of the rainforest, a Lost City was discovered in 2012.
Accompanied by natives familiar with the area, explorers found a city that had massive structures. The largest happens to be a 79-meter tall by 79-meter wide pyramid. At the top of it is a polished stone, thought to have been a sacrificial altar of sorts. It is the size of the structures that give the impression it was made by giants. There were even tools and artifacts made for human use found here. All were notably quite large, making people feel that the place likely did once inhabit giant beings.
10. The Amazon River used to flow in the opposite direction
For years there had been a lot of problems with the Amazon for geologists. It stumped them to see sediments carried out to sea, as the oldest of them were found upstream from their source. This is the opposite direction from the normal course the water flows in. They were able to find that, until the Cretaceous Period, the Amazon actually used to flow east to west.
This differs from the normal flow of west fo east today. They found that it was not until the Andes Mountains began to rise around 100 million years ago that the Amazon River ended up reversing its course. It was a surprising turn of events to find that the river once flowed in the opposite direction to what it does now. However, it was one heck of an amazing discovery.
You may not realize this, but the Amazon Rainforest is responsible for a ton of water found in the world’s oceans. The Amazon Rainforest gives up around 55 million gallons of water every second of the day that flows right into the Atlantic Ocean. As you may be aware, all of the oceans connect at some point to each other.
This means that we’re likely seeing water that once came from the Amazon as far north as the Arctic as well as places like the Gulf of Mexico and the Indian Ocean. Despite flowing into the Atlantic, the flow of all of this water results in a supply of water that will only continue to raise sea levels.
While more lived in the Amazon Rainforest before Europeans arrived and likely would have been much more today, there are a little less than one million Indigenous people living here today. They are spread out in around 400 different tribes, with many that have had contact with people from the outside world for hundreds of years. They even have access to Western medicine and education! There are some that have remained isolated from the outside world since they began.
They may know of outsiders but choose to not make contact. Some contact tribal people have had were horrific. They often dealt with loggers, miners, and ranchers that have not only killed tribal members but also took them on as slaves. In July 2018, Brazilian Authorities were able to take an image of the “indigenous man in the hole.” He is the sole survivor of his tribe, who were killed by farmers in 1995. He has rejected outside visitors, but government quietly leaves him tools and seeds.
While Poison Dart Frogs are absolutely gorgeous, they have nothing on the Amazon’s Glass Frog. It looks exactly as you might think too. They are typically green in color and completely transparent. Their skin is so easily seen through that you can actually see their inner organs. This is not exactly lovely, but it has made life much easier for scientists!
Due to their skin being so transparent, the environment they are in plays a huge role in their appearance. They take on the look of it entirely, which makes it incredibly hard for predators to spot them. Evolution is a funny thing, but it can create some absolutely incredible things. The glass frog is a huge example of that.
It is uncertain if the creature or creatures actually exist, but the Mapiguary Monster stories are rampant here. It is thought that it is only one creature but some believe that multiple of these creatures exist. Apparently, this monster is 7 foot tall that stinks so much, it can make hunters dizzy and even disoriented. No bones or even connections to the monster have been found.
It seems that these monster stories have passed down from generation to generation. This comes off like a form of the game known as “telephone.” You know that game you played as a kid. You get into a big line where the first person is told a secret and then it’s whispered into everyone’s ear all the way down the line. Often when the story made it to the end of the line, it changed a lot. This story passed down over 10,000 years. Who knows how true it really is?
When you think of seeing a Humpback Whale, it is never assumed that you’ll come across them in the Amazon River or anywhere close to the Amazon. However, that is exactly what happened in February of 2019. A dead humpback whale was discovered near the mouth of the Amazon River.
It is known that whales do migrate back and forth between poles, but they are never in this area. In fact, the feeding grounds this whale is expected to frequent are 4,000 miles from the Amazon Rainforest. The theory is that this whale somehow got separated from its larger whale group as well as its mother. Nothing more is known at this time sadly.
We’ve called this place the Amazon Rainforest for an incredibly long period of time. Yet one of the biggest secrets of the Amazon Rainforest for some time seemed to be how the place got its name. While people lived here for thousands of years, a proper name did not come to the region until 1542. When the Spanish arrived, they were discovering everything for the outside world. This need to discover the area led to Spanish soldier Francisco de Orellana being sent to explore it.
He was the very first to do so for the outside world. Arriving in 1541, he spent a year exploring and returned to Spain with tales of gold and cinnamon found there. It turns out, he was even attacked by tribal women protecting their territory. He thought they were so fierce that he named them Amazons. This is a reference to the female warriors from the Greek Mythological stories. The name would stick, leading to the official Amazon Rainforest title shortly after.
When you are about to go into the Amazon Rainforest, many depart out of Brazil’s Manaus Region. This led to a paranormal writer Michael Cohen heading to the area. He decided to take a picture in 2011 with two British tourists to the area. It turns out, he caught an amazing image with something very interesting in the background. As the picture shows, it does not look like a life-form that would be in this area or of this world.
This area is also well-known for being a place to spot UFOs. It is speculated that aliens love the Amazon Rainforest due to the impressive biodiversity of the area. This has become such a big deal that the Brazilian Government sent in their high-level investigation team for something they called “Operation Prato.” The team monitored the area for alien presence for a long period of time. It was covered up by the government for several years until it was finally declassified.
When you think about the major secrets of the Amazon Rainforest, it is likely you’ve heard of Parana fish. These fish are believed to eat anything that seems to be in their way. In reality, this is not true. Like sharks, when they smell blood in the water, they pounce. However, they do not randomly attack anything or anyone.
We cannot say the same about a certain fish found here. There are several types of Vampire Fish here, with the most common being the Candiru and Payara. In fact, there are stories of Candiru swimming up inside human urethras. Meanwhile, Payaras have been known to bite human flesh off. They even have Vampire Teeth! All are found throughout the Amazon, in just about every place the Amazon River flows through.
1. The Amazon Rainforest was one big experiment that got out of hand?
Probably the biggest secret of the Amazon Rainforest may very well be one people will be shocked to hear. In 2017, a study found that the Amazon Rainforest was likely an experiment that got out of hand. Researchers believe that while it may appear wild and completely uncharted, ancient Amazonian people likely were doing one of the world’s earliest farming experiments.
Things went well, as it resulted in the Brazilian Nut Tree and even Palm Trees. Many of these are found where humans tend to be, leading to the idea that they were deliberately planted by ancient people. It is unknown how much experimentation that did, but it’s clear that human beings played a big role in shaping the rainforest. Did things get out of hand? Possibly, but these experiments led to the richest biodiversity on the planet.
The Amazon Is Perhaps The Last Known Home For Jaguars
The Amazon Rainforest is one of the few known areas on the planet where the Jaguar can be found. While they have also been known for living in the extreme southern United States and Mexico, there are very few there. While its cousin the Panther is present here, it’s more abundant than the Jaguar itself. That said, the most common area to see them today would be the Amazon. In particular, the Brazilian section tends to be the most Jaguar populated.
There are said to be roughly 6,000 to 7,000 of the species remaining here. However, due to tribal hunting or illegal hunting, they have been dying off slowly for years. This on top of problematic deforestation. While they are more active at night, Jaguars sort of luck out in the Amazon. Since a large portion is shaded, they are capable of hiding and not being spotted by potential prey as easily. They are gifted climbers but they can also swim quite well, which means their prey is as good as dead.
Average Temperatures In The Amazon Are Pretty Consistent
The Amazon Rainforest certainly lucks out compared to other places around the world. They tend to keep to a similar temperature regardless of the time you go. One of the secrets of the Amazon Rainforest that few people talk about is that the humidity is present all year too. Even during the dry season, you’re not going to get rid of the humidity. During this point of the year, which is usually from June to October, the daily temperature is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
During the rainy season, however, there is a shift in temperature for obvious reasons. The rainy season tends to be from November to May, where about 60% of the Amazon’s rainfall occurs during the year. During this time, it can get to about 12 degrees cooler than normal during the day. This still puts the rainforest temp at 88 degrees, without adding in humidity! The air feels incredibly muggy during this point of the year, and it can be miserable if you’re not used to it.
The cool part about the Amazon is that it is home to a ton of unique, amazing creatures. One of the hidden secrets of the Amazon Rainforest is that it is home to 430 different species of mammals. This is without counting mankind, of course. As we referenced previously, the Jaguar lives here. Yet several other big cats like the Panther & Puma are present, as well as smaller predatory cats like the Ocelot too.
Of course, the Amazon Rainforest is also home to multiple monkey species. Also as referenced above, they have one of the few species of River Dolphin on the planet too. Yes, dolphins happen to be mammals. It is also known for having the largest otter species, which is properly referred to simply as the “Giant Otter.” The Rainforest also has unique animals like the Tapir and Capybara. This is just to name only a few that one can see there.
We all assume there are a ton of trees in the Amazon Rainforest, which is not without merit. They do have quite a lot, even with the forest fires that have happened over the years. Yet one of the secrets of the Amazon Rainforest is that they also have 16,000 different species of tree. To understand how much this is, we only know of 60,000 tree species worldwide. That’s more than 25% of the world’s tree species population!
Moreover, the nations with the most trees on the planet are Brazil, Columbia, and Indonesia. Of course, two of those nations happen to be home to a portion of the Amazon Rainforest. Each contains roughly 5,000 different tree species, making Brazil and Columbia account for at least 10,000 of the 16,000 tree species in the Amazon. On top of that, in spite of all the issues the tree population has had, there are still around 390 BILLION individual trees present there!
Absent any major forest fire in history, the Amazon loses quite a lot of trees on an average annual basis. While we know there are just under 400 billion individual trees, the loss of the tree population in any way can be bad if it gets out of control. Contrary to popular belief, you do need some trees to die off and it is even smart to do some controlled burning to remove problematic issues with new tree growth. It can even prevent major widespread damage if a fire randomly occurs.
The issue for the Amazon Rainforest is that they are far too large to do a lot of controlled burns. While some of the tribes present are known for doing it here and there, they are nowhere near as widespread. Thus, a secret of the Amazon Rainforest that is, well, no longer a major secret is its annual tree loss. As of now, the annual average is 3.5 million. Yet they have also had years far higher, such as Summer 2018 to Summer 2019 when they lost 3,800 square miles of total forest.
The ecosystem of the Amazon Rainforest is quite impressive. The countries with the highest bird populations based on total different species are, in order: Columbia, Peru, and Brazil. Of course, each country is also home to a portion of the Amazon Rainforest. One of the secrets of the Amazon Rainforest that shouldn’t really be one is truly this impressive bird population. At one point, we only assumed they had about 1,300 different bird species.
Yet other than Indonesia, the top 7 bird species homes are ALL in the Amazon. Counting Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela, the total bird species amount that calls the Amazon Rainforest home is a stunning 10,003! Of course, 633 of these bird species happen to be a threatened species of some type. Keep in mind, these are all the bird types we know of that are present here. It is nearly impossible to explore the entirety of this Rainforest, so there very well could be far more species of bird!
The Amazon Rainforest Relies On Africa’s Sahara Desert To Survive
While it might seem odd, it is actually quite true that South America’s Amazon Rainforest relies at least partly on Africa’s Sahara Desert to survive. The reason is due to the Rainforest needing a consistent and reliable supply of fresh dust & phosphorous in its topsoil. This is not exactly present and naturally growing in the Amazon, and due to the massive amount of rain, it would only be washed away.
That is why the Sahara Desert is so useful, as it actually supplies this dust for the Amazon Rainforest. For many years, we knew that phosphorous was in the topsoil but how it got there was a mystery. That was until satellites picked up an advanced dust cloud modeling technique. Researchers concluded that particles were picked up in the desert and blown over the Atlantic Ocean before reaching the Amazon. It is a secret of the Amazon Rainforest that few thought possible until it was proven.
The Amazon Rainforest is often called the most biodiverse place on the planet. It’s not hard to see why, as there is plenty of water. Plus, there is a place in the shade for plants that need it and even sun in spots for plants that need more of that. It’s really the place that gives plants every tool they need to succeed. It is not shocking to find that its conditions give it the chance to produce some amazing plants too. Yet the secret of the Amazon Rainforest is the major amount of plant species.
We’ve drawn attention to the giant planets, as they seem to get the most press and popularity among tourists. We cannot blame anyone for loving them. However, we’ve so far been able to find at least 40,000 different plant species in the Amazon Rainforest. Brazil is said to be the most biodiverse nation with more different plant species than any other nation. Of course, its connection to the Amazon Rainforest certainly helps. In total, the Amazon has 67.5% of the world’s total vascular plants!
While we’ve already referenced the biodiverse nature of the Amazon Rainforest. However, it should go without saying that when there is one large population of animal species, there is sure to be another. An ecosystem cannot survive or thrive on its own, as it needs a proper food chain to work. That is why there can be a ton of mammals and birds here, as well as a lot of plants too. Yet all at some point rely on one species type, the insects.
At one point, the Amazon Rainforest was said to have 70,000 different species of insect. However, one secret of the Amazon Rainforest that people should know is that this number does not tell the full story. We’re now aware of roughly 2.5 million species of insect found here. Heck, scientists once found 700 different species of beetle on just ONE tree!! A lot of the time, insects too similar to others are looped in together. Therefore, some scientists do that in this case, bringing the number down.
The “Lungs of the Earth” Is Not Exactly A Bad Nickname, But…
While the Amazon Rainforest is generally called the “lungs of the Earth,” it’s not entirely accurate. Yet it’s not too crazy either, as it is perhaps the greatest land area that helps us. When it comes to Carbon Dioxide absorption, the world’s oceans soak up around 25% of our annual emission total. This is taking into account all of the damage we have done to the planet due to our fossil fuel usage. However, while the Earth’s oceans might soak up a lot, the Amazon does too.
Sadly, people often get the total number of this wrong. One of the secrets of the Amazon Rainforest is that it soaks up 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually or about 5% of our annual total emission rate. However, another one of the major secrets of the Amazon Rainforest is that it does not produce 20% of the world’s oxygen. Even the most generous climatologists claim the Amazon produces around 10 to 15% of our oxygen at best.