The peculiar pink Amazon dolphins have a massive sonar array distorting their heads as they are almost blind and see by sound. Photo by Allen Sheffield.
A Few Amazon Facts
The Amazon Rainforest encompasses half of the entire world’s tropical rainforests and crosses 9 national borders with 60% in Brazil and 13% in Peru.
20% of all the world’s birds live in the Amazon, 1, 300 bird species, 430 mammal species, 378 reptile species and – wait for it – 2. 5 million insect species. I knew there was something itchy around there. Also 40, 000 plant species.
60% of Peru’s land is in the Amazon
Amazon rainforest ‘jungle’.
More land area is dedicated to national parks and wildlife reserves than any other country in South America. Consequently the Peruvian Amazon is one of the most untouched rainforests on earth, containing a diversity of animal and plant life unrivalled by any other rainforest on the planet.
When going for a rainforest walk
Someone in the group – probably the guide, assistant or macho tourist will have to take a take and use a machete (a kind of crude sword) to cut a way through the undergrowth. Tourists need to keep their eyes peeled as most of the wildlife is well disguised, birds and poisonous frogs excepted.
The above photo is what the authentic Amazon ‘jungle’ actually looks like, but without the worst bit, the humidity, or the best bit, the sounds – endless buzzing, clicking, humming, screeching, flapping and mysterious splashing/crashing sounds, along with the thick shadowy vegetation and heavy atmosphere make for a unique and unforgettable ambience, what the rainforest experience is all about.
Most jungle creatures are well camouflaged, apart from birds such as these Hoatzins that are reasonably visible in jungle surroundings, while. . .
. . . this caterpillar is not, nor are most of the other 2. 5 million insect species.
On your Amazon trip remember to pack
Inevitably you’ll come across legions of insects that want to taste your blood or drink your salt water (from your eyeballs, naturally) so pack long lightweight trousers/pants and possibly a light longsleeved shirt so you can use a serious insect repellent on them with a high DEET factor (50%-100%) and not on your skin. Long pants also serve as a snake-bite barrier.
You will also need to bring some kind of light but strong rainwear, hiking shoes that are water-resistant and are maybe high enough to protect against snakes (or gaiters? ), a hat, sunglasses and high-factor sun protection, as well as something warm for cool nights, a water bottle and tissues or toilet paper, or both.
Frogs (these are Giant Waxy Monkey Tree Frogs), especially poisonous ones, don’t mind standing out. . .