Pantanal – a vast alluvial plain in South America. It extends to central-western Brazil (states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul), eastern Bolivia, northeastern Paraguay. The name comes from the Pantanal Portuguese word meaning swamp Pantano. When the Portuguese arrived in these areas took them inland sea. This area is regularly flooded by the Paraguay River and its tributaries. Covers an area of 200 thousand. km ². This area is characterized by richness and diversity of nature.
The plain is shaped by two seasons – dry and rainy. The rainy season lasts the summer or here from October to March. Annual rainfall from 1000 to 1400 mm. Due to the small slope (2 cm / km), water builds up and floods the entire lowlands, leaving only small fragments – located above the island, where he focuses on animals. In the dry season – from April to September – the area dries creating a savanna.
On the plain there are several ecosystems:
- In the south of dry tropical forests, green only during the rainy season.
- East open Cerrado savannah – High Pantanal.
- Northern humid tropical forests.
- Bolivia is closer to the lake, and even brackish lagoons.
Seasonal changes of climate and topographical differences meant that occur here both bog vegetation, seasonally flooded meadows like vegetation, and various types of forests. On the sands dominated by Cerrado, and grassy vegetation on clays – the so-called Low Pantanal.
World plains animals is also very diverse.
There are about 80 species of mammals. These include among others: jaguar, puma, ocelot, maned wolf, arirania, great ant-eater, swamp deer, peccaries, tapir, giant armadillo, and capybara. The latter during the dry season is observed in flocks of up to 100 individuals. There are also five species of monkeys.
The richness of this region is above all the size of the birdlife. So far, described over 700 species of birds (about 500 in Europe). There exist 45 species of predatory birds and 26 species of parrots. In addition, mention should be made zimorodku, długoszponie, and wężówce. The stork wading birds meet, żabiru, herons, and ibis. There is also rhea. Pantanal is the largest and najzasobniejszym wintering area for birds of North America.
Among the 50 species of reptiles, caimans and should be distinguished anaconda, although the latter species is rather rare.
The rivers Pantanalu live 260 species of fish of various shapes, sizes, and colors, among them several species of piranha. It is completed by thousands of species of butterflies.
Between the Bolivian mountains in the west and the highlands of Brazil to the east is one of the largest wetlands you call. Pantanal is a region of large river plains, stretching for 160 km in length along the eastern bank of the river Paraguay and dealing with an area of 100 thousand. sq km, comparable eg to the surface of Iceland.
Every year, when the river pours Paraguay. Pantanal turns into a huge swamp, and water is only the tops of some hills.
Between November and March the area Pantanalu 200-300 mm of rainfalls. Floods begin in December, but the water reaches the highest level in June. During this period many of the animals living there moved to the south, in drier areas. In the waters of live caimans Pantanalu żakare, capybara (water pig) and large otter, and the anaconda, which reach a length of 6 m that lurk in the shallows, to attack the victim and suffocate them.