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Latin name: Tapirus
size: up to 2.5m (length)
mass: up to 350kg
Older: 20 - 30 years
Appearance: Combinations of brown, black and white fur patterns possible
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition type: Herbivore (herbivor)
food: Leaves, fruits
distribution: South America, Asia
original origin: Eurasia
Sleep-wake rhythm: nocturnal
habitat: Tropical rain forest
natural enemies: Jaguar, cougar
sexual maturity: about the age of five
mating season: ?
gestation: 12 - 14 months
litter size: 1 cub
social behavior: Loners
Threatened with extinction: Yes
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting about the tapir
- Tapirs are mammals counted as monkeys, comprising a total of five species. Today they are only located in parts of South and Central America as well as Southeast Asia.
- Their direct ancestors, who differed in appearance and size barely from today's tapirs, already inhabited the earth fifty million years ago. Fossil finds prove that in the past they inhabited Europe, Asia and America.
- Today tapirs live in the tropical rainforests of the Americas as well as in southern Thailand and Burma as well as Malaysia and Sumatra. They always stay close to larger bodies of water.
- They are excellent swimmers who like to swim in rivers or mud banks.
- Tapirs are reminiscent in their appearance of large wild boar, but are closely related to the rhinos. They can be up to two and a half feet long depending on the species and reach a shoulder height of up to 120 centimeters and a body weight of up to 350 kilograms, with the males being slightly larger than the females.
- The smallest member of this family is the mountain tapir, which is native to the highlands of Ecuador and Colombia, and is the largest in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia.
- Because of their clumsy physique with the stubby tail, the short legs and the extremely elastic trunk formed from the overgrown nose and upper lip Tapirs seem somewhat cumbersome, but are capable of rapid reactions and movements.
- The proboscis-like snout, which is studded with fine facial hair, is used by the herbivorous tapir for targeted seizing and tearing off of foliage and fruits.
- During their raids through the forest tapirs always use the same trails. They are mainly active in the dusk and early morning hours, sleep at night and rest during the day.
- The skin of the tapirs is very thick and leathery, whereby the animals are best protected from injury by roaming dry scrub.
- Only the mountain tapir, which lives in the cold mountain regions of South America, has a woolly and dense coat to be well protected from cold and direct sunlight.
- Tapirs are usually dark gray, lighter in color on the face and belly. Only the Schabrackentapir has a black and white skin drawing, through which he is well camouflaged in the thickets of the Asian jungle.
- Tapirs are solitary and only meet each other during the mating season. After a gestation period of more than 13 months, the female gives birth to a single, brown-and-white striped juvenile, which can swim after just a few hours and is only driven into independence by the mother after the first year of life.
- Due to the continuous clearing of the rainforests and the resulting destruction of their habitats, tapirs are now regarded as endangered species.
- Mature tapirs rarely fall prey to predators like bears, crocodiles, jaguars or pumas. In danger, they dwell motionless and are well camouflaged by their gray appearance. If this does not work, they suddenly run away and can reach speeds of up to 50 km / h.
- They have a life expectancy of up to thirty years in the wild, but can also get a little older in captivity.