Tapir

Scientific name :
Tapirus terrestris
Class :
Mammals
Order :
Perissodactyla
Family :
Tapiridae

Tapirs (4 toes on their front hooves, 3 on the rear) are related to the equidae (horses, donkeys and zebras) and rhinoceros families. Together, these three families form the perissodactyla order: non-ruminating ungulates with an odd number of toes. The tapir has a characteristic nasal organ and upper lip which form a short mobile trunk. This prehensile lip allows it to feed by selecting and grabbing leaves and branches. Its most developed sense is its sense of smell.

 

Geographic distribution of the tapir

Tapirs are found in many South American countries, but are most common in Brazil.

 

Habits of the tapir

The tapir likes to be around water, and is an excellent swimmer and diver. When frightened, it seeks refuge in water. It is a solitary species. Males mark their territory with splashes of urine. As well as using olfactory communication, tapirs also communicate in proximity using whistling sounds. Females produce a single calf, which has a hide that is striped with white spots, providing camouflage in the forest. The tapir’s predators, apart from humans, include jaguars and to a lesser extent pumas.

Did you know?

Thanks to its exceptional sense of smell, the tapir is able to differentiate between more than 50 plant species.
Rainforest, near water or swamps.
Size: 1. 70 m to 2.10 m
Height: 80 cm to 1 m
Weight: 220 to 250 kg
Leaves, bark, fruit, seeds, buds, shoots and branches.
Longevity: 30 years
Gestation: 390 to 400 days.
1 offspring per birth.
European protection programme

European EEP breeding and conservation programs for endangered species appeared in 1985. The purpose of such a program is to encourage, monitor... Find out more

Conservation status

Stable Threatened Critically endangered