This species prefers lowland forests with a constant source of water, and is found across most of South America.
Tapirs are herbivores and will eat fruits, leaves, buds and shoots.
The tapir's short, fleshy, trunk-like nose helps the animal to sniff its way through the forest and is a sensitive 'finger' used to pull leaves and shoots towards its mouth. This prehensile snout also makes a great snorkel when the tapirs are bathing. They love water and are excellent swimmers.
A single youngster is born after a gestation of around 380 days (12.5 months). Baby tapirs have striped and spotted coats for camouflage but they lose their patterns as they grow older.
The biggest threats to the population of this Vulnerable species are hunting, competition with livestock as well as deforestation, leading to loss of their natural habitat. Brazilian tapirs are officially protected by the government.
Captive populations are managed co-operatively in European zoos.
- Latin Name: Tapirus terrestris
- Class: Mammals
- Order: Perissodactyla
- Family: Tapiridae
- Conservation status: Vulnerable
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