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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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Further up the river, we heard multiple reports of the damage caused by this impetuous flood to the chocolate, sugarcane, rice and coffee, and on the northern

Monte Alegre

shore, between Monte Alegre and Macapa, in livestock breeding. The loss, from the villages from Faro to Santarem, is estimated at 600 cattle. The cattle, besieged in islets where they wandered on a daily basis, were exposed to the assault of hungry crocodiles and jaguars and succumbed in mass. The most surprising were the numerous deaths that this extraordinary flood caused among snakes, crocs and fish, which live in the pools and lagoons along the river. The riverside settlers of Amazonas report that the water of this river "being well beaten " (1), deserves preference over others, which are drinkable, as long as they are left some time at rest. The particles of dirt must settle to the bottom, and these particles are collected in large quantity. They usually, therefore, keep the water in large, crude clay hoists, which refresh it through invisible evaporation. After it rests 24 hours, it gets the purest flavor. The waters of the lagoons and canals, although equally crystalline and containing fewer particles of dirt, are, on the contrary, worse tasting and less refreshing. The countless amount of carnivorous amphibians which inhabit the water, the resinous and other substances of the rotting plants, and perhaps also the lack of the healthy aeration, which at least for a few hours, is done on the surface of the Amazon, must be the reason for the less healthy waters in the neighborhood of the great river. The contaminated water should also be attributed to the increase in mortality of its inhabitants, because at the time of the long river floods, the waters mix. Although there are large crocodiles and snakes in the great river itself, most of these animals usually live in the nearby waters, and only enter the stream, when hunting for the remains of dead fish, or when attracted by the smell of animal waste in the neighborhood of colonies, particularly near the river's fishing grounds.

We were not afraid to bathe in the rivers with strong currents, and I do not recall seeing an alligator in any of the main canals, while there are hundreds in the deep basins, in the marshes of the swampy shores, in the mouths of canals and close to the settlements. If you believe the countless stories of innocent people, deep in the Amazon region, besides the great amphibians mentioned above, there is a species of water snake that inhabits this river and its largest tributaries, but they avoid the waters of the pools and neighboring lagoons. We have seen enormous snakes, green or brown, swimming as if they were floating trunks, and, according to reports, children and adults have been caught when the snakes happen to emerge from the water.

Anaconda

(1) The expression finds itself in Portuguese in the original and thus is written ' ' by being well beaten "(Noto of Rev., Inst. Hist. and Geogr. Bras.).

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