Tapirs are large, herbivorous mammals known for their distinctive appearance, including a long, flexible snout

Classification: Tapirs belong to the family Tapiridae and are part of the order Perissodactyla, which also includes horses and rhinoceroses. There are four extant species of tapirs, each found in different regions of Central and South America, and Southeast Asia.

Physical Characteristics: Tapirs have a somewhat pig-like appearance, with stout bodies, short legs, and rounded ears. Their most notable feature is their elongated snout, which they use to grasp leaves, fruits, and other vegetation. Tapirs have thick, leathery skin that helps protect them from thorns and insect bites. Their coats vary in colour depending on the species, ranging from dark brown to grey or black, often with lighter patches on their cheeks and throat.

Habitat: Tapirs inhabit a variety of forested habitats, including tropical rainforests, montane forests, and swampy areas. They are primarily found near water sources, such as rivers, streams, and marshes, which they use for drinking and bathing.

Diet: Tapirs are herbivores, feeding primarily on leaves, fruits, and aquatic plants. They are selective feeders and use their sensitive snouts to sniff out and locate food. Tapirs are important seed dispersers, as they consume a variety of fruits and excrete seeds intact in their feces, helping to regenerate forests.

Behaviour: Tapirs are solitary animals and are most active during the early morning and late evening hours. They are excellent swimmers and often retreat to water to escape predators or to forage for aquatic plants. Tapirs are generally shy and elusive, preferring to avoid confrontations with humans and other animals.

Reproduction: The mating season for tapirs varies depending on the species and location, but typically occurs during the dry season. After a gestation period of around 13 months, females give birth to a single offspring, known as a calf. Tapir calves are born with a distinctive coat pattern of stripes and spots, which provides camouflage in their forest habitat.

Conservation Status: Tapirs are listed as Vulnerable or Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), primarily due to habitat loss, fragmentation, and hunting. They are particularly vulnerable to habitat destruction caused by deforestation, agricultural expansion, and infrastructure development. Conservation efforts are underway to protect tapir populations and their habitats through habitat conservation, anti-poaching measures, and public awareness campaigns.

Overall, tapirs are fascinating and important animals in their ecosystems, playing vital roles as herbivores and seed dispersers. Protecting their habitats is essential for their survival and the conservation of biodiversity in tropical forests.

Tapir Gallery


Location - Zoo
Threat Status - Vulnerable


Pirates of Zanzibar