South American/Brazilian/Lowland Tapir

South American/Brazilian/Lowland Tapir Tapirus terrestris

Type of Animal:

Forests, grasslands, swamps/swampy areas, hillside areas, savanna, waterways, wetlands, areas near water, rivers, lakes, ponds, mountainous areas (as high as 14,763.78 ft), woodlands, shorelines, areas w/ salt, lowlands, shrublands

E Colombia, E Ecuador, E Peru, Venezuela, Guiana Shield, most of Brazil except far SE, N & E Bolivia, Paraguay, NE Argentina

Dark brown, lighter in face, noticeable snout, low erect crest running from crown down back of neck, round dark ears w/ distinct white edges. Newborns dark brown w/ small white spots/stripes (almost like watermelon w/ legs), spots/stripes fade completely around 6 months
Seeds, fibers, leaves, fruit, stems, twigs, grasses, flowers, bromeliads, buds, shoots, branches, berries, aquatic plants, grains, wood, nuts, bark, vegetables, sprouts

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos & wildlife parks

Solitary, though sometimes found in male-female pairs

Additional Info:

Male: Bull
Female: Cow
Young: Calf
Group: Pair

Male: 352.74-551.16 lbs
Female: 396.83-650.36 lbs
Young: 100 lbs

13 months

Life Span:
25-30 years

Male: 2.75-3.67 ft
Female: 2.75-3.83 ft

Body Length:
Male: 6.25-6.69 ft
Female: 7.25 ft

Tail Length:
2-4 in, same for both sexes

Main predators are jaguars, pumas, crocodilians, anacondas, & bush dogs.
Very elusive & hard to find in wild due to often nocturnal/crepuscular habits.
Tough skin for protection from predators-will flee into water, or in case of females w/ calves, attack w/ canine teeth.
Due to diet, play important role as seed dispersers-sometimes called “gardeners of the forest” for this role.
Threatened due to deforestation, habitat loss, hunting for meat/sport/hide, agriculture, flooding from hydroelectric projects, cattle grazing, & illegal wildlife trade.
Excellent swimmers, using snout as snorkel.
Besides being used as snorkel, snout also used to obtain food since it’s prehensile.
Splayed hooves come in handy when walking through soggy ground.
Calves stay w/ mom for 1-2 years.
Largest terrestrial mammal in Amazon.
Mark territory by spraying urine on plants/other objects.

Fun Fact(s):
Can eat up to 75 lbs of food a day.
Generally docile unless provoked or female protecting calf. Canine teeth quite capable of biting arm off.
Though they might look like pigs, closest relatives horses & rhinos.
Can stay underwater for up to 7 minutes.

1 thought on “South American/Brazilian/Lowland Tapir


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