Tapir Facts and Information
Introduction to Tapir
The Tapir is a very interesting looking creature that somewhat resembles a pig. This mammal has a prehensile snout that is able to use to pick things up with. There are four known species and they can all be very aggressive in nature. They are closely related to the horse and the rhino.
The Tapir is about 7 feet long and 3 feet high. They can vary in weight from 300 to 700 pounds. Their coloring can be red, brown, black, or gray. It often depends on the specific species and their location. They have thick fur that is long and wooly. The ears are oval and thin. They also have a tail that is short and stubby.
The front feet have 4 toes each and the rear feet have 3 toes each. This helps them to stay balanced. The young have coats that are striped and spotted to help them remain camouflaged. As they get older though those identifying marks will go away. They have teeth that are very sharp.
Southeast Asia is the main location where you will find the Tapir. They spend lots of time in the water as well as on land. They find plenty of vegetation in the water that they consume. They like dry forest regions and areas that offer plenty of heat. They are also found around the grasslands of South America and Central America.
The snout of the Tapir is pehensiled and they can move it in all directions. They use it to grab foliage that is out of their normal reach. The Tapir is known to be highly aggressive both to other animals and to humans. They are territorial and they will attack rather than retreating.
They suffer from corneal cloudiness which means that they can’t see very well. Experts believe that this lack of vision is part of why the Tapir is so aggressive. They do hear very well and they can smell well so if they hear or smell something around them they are going to investigate it.
They tend to be very solitary and they protect their environments. They only exceptions are when they are mating or raising their young. The males may become very aggressive with each other for the right to mate with a given female.
The majority of the diet of the Tapir is foliage. They also consume a variety of fruits when they are available. Such items are usually seasonal in their habitat though so they won’t always be able to have access to them.
They can spend many hours per day foraging for food. Adults can eat up to 85 pounds of food daily. They often look for food at night, but there are times when they have been spotted with their snout to the ground during the day looking for enough food. They often have a very wide habitat range that they cover to search for food.
Mating begins for the Tapir between 3 and 5 years of age. Typically, the females will be ready for mating before the males. Females only reproduce every 2 years. After mating, it takes 13 months for the young to arrive. The female will offer milk from the body for about 12 months. The average lifespan is 30 years both in the wild and in captivity for the Tapir.
All four of the species of Tapir are classified as being Endangered. They are at risk of not surviving due to low reproduction rates, loss of habitat, and poaching. There are laws against hunting them but most of the time those laws aren’t enforced.