Brazillian tapir

(Tapirus terrestris)


Up to 108cm high. Females are up to 220cm long whilst males are slightly shorter.

Up to 35 years in captivity.

Found in the riverside rainforest of South America, in Venezuela, Colombia, south Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.

Tapirs are generalised browsers and grazers. They eat fruits, leaves, stems, shoots, grasses, aquatic plants, tree bark, aquatic organisms and also plantation crops.

Found in the riverside rainforest of South America, in Venezuela, Colombia, South Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.

Animal Facts

  • One of the most distinguishable characteristics of the Brazilian Tapir is its proboscis (the upper lip and nose), which is long, flexible and prehensile. It is covered with sensory vibrissae which are similar in function to a cat’s whiskers. Their proboscis is used for grasping leaves and also as a snorkel when swimming under water.
  • The oldest female tapir to give birth in captivity gave birth at the age of 28. This is the rough equivalent of a woman giving birth at the age of 98!
  • Despite their appearance, tapirs are surprisingly agile and can swim, gallop and climb.
  • Deforestation, hunting and competition with domestic livestock have all contributed to the decline and fragmentation of lowland tapir populations.
  • Young tapir are spotty and stripy. This adaptation assists in camouflaging them before they become independent.
  • Tapirs are “seed dispersers.” They eat seeds that are then dispersed in their poo which, in turn, helps the forest to regenerate.
  • The skin of a tapir is remarkably thick to allow it to resist attacks from jaguars, which are their main natural predators. A large number of tapirs bear claw marks from jaguar attacks.

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens