American Wonder: Interesting Facts to Know About the Mississippi River

Flowing through a total of 10 states, the Mississippi River is among the longest rivers in the world. Not only is the Mississippi River important for producing hydroelectric power, but it also helps supply drinking water to millions of people. Here are a few interesting facts about this legendary waterway.

Dangerous Predators Roam in the Mississippi River
Sharks have long been a threat to many beaches that lie near the ocean. However, don’t be surprised to hear about a shark being spotted in the Mississippi River. Bull sharks are among the few species that can adapt to freshwater environments. Because they are so low in number, the chances of you actually getting bitten by a bull shark are extremely low. However, there are other dangerous animals roaming. Alligators are definitely lurking in the waters. Menacing-looking fish called alligator gars are also routinely found. Aside from regularly tipping the scales at over 200 pounds, alligator gars have a set of fang-like teeth. Fortunately, they shy away from humans.

Major Transportation Route
For centuries, the Mississippi River has remained a major transportation route. It’s simply easier and less expensive to ship freight through the Mississippi River. From coal to agricultural crops, a number of commercial products are transported on this waterway. Even today, barge traffic is often heavy.

Varies in Width
At its origin, the Mississippi River is no more than 30 feet wide. However, some sections of the river span over 11 miles across. Its widest point looks more like a large lake.

A Source of Inspiration for Many
The Mississippi River’s sheer beauty has influenced many works of art, including Mark Twain’s “Life on the Mississippi” memoir. Plenty of other poems, songs, and paintings were inspired by the Mississippi River.