South American Tapir Calf - Tapirus Terrestris
South American Tapir Calf - Tapirus Terrestris

About lowland tapir.

Lowland tapirs are excellent swimmers and divers, and they always live in areas close to the water. They can also run quite fast on land.


Their main predators are crocodiles, jaguars and cougars.


Tapirs have a short proboscis (trunk) as a snout that they use to grab branches, leaves, fruits and berries, and shovel them into their mouth. It is especially useful for picking aquatic plants and drinking water.


Tapirs are considered living fossils, as the species has changed very little in millions of years. They remain very similar to their ancestors from 55 million years ago.


There are five species of tapir, four of them in South America. The fifth is the Malayan tapir, which lives on the other side of the world, in Asia. It looks like its tapir relatives, but with the colors of a panda, black and white.


When it feels threatened, the lowland tapir runs and plunges into the water, diving under the surface to escape.


Baby tapirs have a very different coat color from adults, with light stripes all over their body that fade as they get older, at around 6 months. These serve as camouflage, to protect them from predators.


They have a compact body and robust head and neck, which allows them to make their way easily through the vegetation of the rainforests where they live.


Tapirs have four toes encased in hooves on each front foot and only three on each back foot.


During the day they rest in the middle of thick vegetation near swamps and rivers. They are largely nocturnal, usually becoming active at dusk.


The tapirs closest relatives are rhinos and horses.


Females can only give birth to one single calf per litter, with a gestation period of more than a year. Calves stay with their mother for around 18 months until they are fully grown.

South American tapir (Tapirus terrestris), also known as the Brazilian tapir. By Vladimir Wrangel | Shutterstock.com
South American tapir (Tapirus terrestris), also known as the Brazilian tapir. By Vladimir Wrangel | Shutterstock.com
COMMON NAMECONSERVATION STATUS
South American tapir, Brazilian tapir or lowland tapirVulnerable
SCIENTIFIC NAMESIZE
Tapirus terrestris1,8 – 2,5 m (5.9-8.2 ft)
FAMILYWEIGHT
Tapiridae150-320 kg (330-710 lb)
ORDERLIFESPAN
Perissodactyla25 – 30 years
CLASSGESTATION PERIOD
Mammalia13 months
 POPULATION DIET
Not estimated (↓decreasing)It is a herbivore. It feeds on leaves, twigs, aquatic plants and fruits mainly. 
HABITATRANGE
Rainforests, areas close to rivers and swamps.It lives in warm areas of South America; Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guiana, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.
Small stripped baby of the endangered South American tapir. By Artush | Shutterstock.com
Small stripped baby of the endangered South American tapir. By Artush | Shutterstock.com

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