Tapir (Brazilian) / Tapirus terrestris

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Tapirs are excellent swimmers and often take to water to avoid predators

They can stay submerged for several minutes using their nose as snorkel

At DZG we have Brazilian or South American Tapirs, one of four species found around the world; three in central and south America and one in Asia.

Tapirs are large browsing mammals, closely related to horses and rhinoceroses (odd toed ungulates – hoofed animals).

They are similar in shape to a pig, with a short, prehensile snout which is adapted for grasping. It is also used to sniff their way through the forest.

Brazilian tapirs are dark brown in colour and this provides excellent camouflage in the forest shadows.

All tapirs have oval, white-tipped ears, rounded, protruding rumps with stubby tails, and splayed, hoofed toes, with four toes on the front feet and three on the hind feet, which help them to walk on muddy and soft ground.

A stiff, bristly mane provides protection against the bite of the jaguar, the tapir’s main predator.

They are herbivores, using their mobile snouts to feed on leaves, buds, shoots, and small branches that they tear from trees, fruit, grasses, and aquatic plants.

Tapirs are solitary animals with the males and females only interacting during the breeding season.

After 395 day gestation period the female gives birth to a single baby.

Young tapirs have reddish, brown coats dappled with spots and stripes, however, the pattern is lost by the time the calf is six months old.