Brazilian tapir

Brazilian Tapir

Tapirus terrestris

CLASS Mammalia | ORDER Perissodactyla | FAMILY Tapiridae

RANGE South America

HABITAT Wooded, grassy habitats and jungles

DIET Grasses, leaves, buds, soft twigs, fruits of low growing shrubs, aquatic vegetation and shoots

330 - 550 lbs

71 - 98 in

29 – 47 in (to shoulder)

13 months


IUCN Status
Brazilian tapir

The tapir is a close relative of horses and rhinos. Tapirs are the largest terrestrial mammal native to the Amazonian region of South America.

Tapirs are at home in the water. They are able swimmers and will take freely to water when pressed by predators like jaguars and crocodilians.

Brazilian tapir

The tapir's head extends into a short, fleshy trunk, which is actually a prolonged nose and upper lip that is combined into a flexible snout like an elephant's trunk. Its trunk-like nose is a sensitive "finger" used to pull leaves and shoots towards its mouth.

Its small, deep-set eyes are protected from brush and thorns common in the its habitat.

Brazilian tapir

Tapirs help their ecosystem by smashing down small trees and breaking branches to make trails, which aid other creatures in moving through the forest, too. They also play an important role in their ecosystem as major seed disperser.

Brazilian tapir

The main threats to the species include loss of habitat through deforestation, hunting for meat and competition with domestic livestock.