lowland tapir

Lowland Tapir

Tapirus terrestris


Quick Facts
Body Length: Body length: 6 to 7 feet ; Tail Length: 1 to 4 inches
Height: 2.5 to 4 feet
Weight: Up to 550 pounds
Distribution: Tropical zones of mainland South America such as Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Guiana, Venezuela, and northern Argentina
Habitat: Forest or grassy areas with a permanent water supply nearby
Wild Diet: Grasses, aquatic vegetation, green shoots, leaves, buds, soft twigs, and the fruits of low-growing bushes
Zoo Diet: Alfalfa hay, alfalfa grain pellets, and a variety of fruits and vegetables

Although their skin is tough, lowland tapirs have sparse, short, bristly hair that makes up their dark brown to reddish-brown coat. They have a distinctive crest on their neck that runs from shoulder to forehead with a protective low mane. They have a streamlined shape and stout body, with their rump slightly higher than their shoulders. Their limbs are short and sturdy. Their short, prehensile snout is made up of the nose and upper lip, with the nostril at the tip.

Status in the Wild

Listed as "vulnerable" on the IUCN Red List (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources)

Conservation Programs
  • Brookfield Zoo (Chicago Zoological Society) has provided certain financial support to the Tapir Specialist Group, which is a unit of the IUCN Species Survival Commission.
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