Introduction: The Amazon (02:01)
This segment orients viewers to the topic of the Amazon; one fifth of the Earth's freshwater flows through the river.
River's Source (02:27)
The Amazon’s headwaters flow from glacial melt in the Peruvian Andes and embarks on a 4,000-mile journey to the sea. Over 1,000 tributaries feed the river.
Giant River Otters (03:16)
A family of otters thrives in a shallow Brazilian tributary. Adult otters can grow to nearly six feet in length. To reach this size, the cubs need to learn how to fish.
"River Monsters" (05:33)
The Amazon headwaters have a reputation for unpredictability and danger. The upper reaches are home to electric eels, pacu fish, and giant anacondas. A pair of cichlids mates in a remote spring.
Underwater Predators (03:04)
Cichlids must be wary of barracudas and wolf fish that lurk in murky waters beyond the remote spring. A sting ray enters the clear waters to set an ambush.
Boiling Tributary (04:05)
The upper Amazon has one of the longest stretches of thermal river on the planet. With a temperature of around 200 degrees, fish who stray into its waters are boiled alive. Peru’s Ashaninka people have visited for generations.
Tributary Convergence (02:03)
Lowland rivers swell, surging faster and deeper. Green wing macaws flock near newly exposed banks to dine on a type of clay that is naturally rich in salt.
Amazon Basin (05:00)
Tributaries join to create a muddy river channel that allows ocean going ships to sail over 2,000 miles inland. The Rio Negro is the Amazon's most distinctive tributary. Manaus prospers from the river and surrounding rainforest.
Wet Season (03:55)
Six months of rainstorms cause the Amazon River system to swell. Farmers have trouble adapting to the conditions that have become more extreme in recent years.
Pink River Dolphins (04:13)
Vast areas of land are submerged during the annual floods, creating homes for countless fish. The Amazon has more than 3,000 fish species; many breed during high water. Botos are some of the Amazon’s most iconic residents.
"Stink birds" feed almost exclusively on leaves. They make their nests close to the flood waters to avoid spider monkeys, but clumsy chicks are vulnerable to caimans.
Lower Amazon (05:32)
At the peak of the rainy season, the Earth's crust can sink three inches under the weight of the water. At Alter do Chao, river people attend an elaborate seasonal festival.
Nearly 4,000 miles from its source, the Amazon River reaches its mouth. A few times a year, water from the Atlantic Ocean surges into the river channel, temporarily reversing its flow; surfers ride the large waves.
Amazon/Atlantic Convergence (05:24)
The Amazon River enters the Atlantic Ocean in a vast muddy cloud. Technology and submarines allow scientists to study the murky water. They descend below a plankton bloom and discover an algae reef.
Credits: The Amazon (00:31)
Credits: The Amazon
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