South American tapir

Vulnerable

We welcome three male tapirs in the park: Toto, Jupp and the recently arrived Rio!


Scientific name : Tapirus terrestris

Where do they live?

In tropical forests and swamps mainly in Brazil, as well as in northern Argentina and Venezuela.

Did you know?

The newborns have stripes!

Baby tapirs are distinguished from adults by their brown-red striped fur with white spots, which helps them stay camouflaged in the brush. After around 6 months, the stripes disappear to give way to the adult coat.

Also known as the lowland tapir, they are recognizable by their characteristic nose, which ends with a short prehensile trunk that they use to pick fruit and pluck leaves. Their nostrils are at the very end of the trunk and give tapirs an excellent sense of smell to find food and sense danger. Their eyes are small and sunken to protect them from thorns.
South American tapirs are solitary animals, except during reproduction. They enjoy water and bathe regularly to get rid of parasites. They also hide in the water to protect themselves from predators (jaguars, pumas, etc.). Their main threats are hunting and habitat loss.

Length

200 to 220 cm.

Height

77 to 108 cm at the withers.

Weight

150 to 300 kg.

Life expectancy

30 years.

Gestation period

384 days.

Birth weight

Between 3 and 6 kg.

Human-Animal Connection

Useful for the ecology of its environment

South American tapirs are frugivores and they disperse seeds that remain intact after digestion throughout their habitat. They also aerate the forest by digging tunnels in the dense thickets using the elongated shape of their body.