All About Tapir: From Little Snout To Water Spa

All About Tapir: From Little Snout To Water Spa 1

All About Tapir: From Little Snout To Water Spa

If you have to guess a quiz about animals that resemble pigs, but actually are still relatives of horses and rhinos, what is your answer? Perhaps you would not expect that the tapir is the animal in question. This lineage is very ancient, and it is believed that the tapir have changed over millions of years of evolution.


Tapirs live in forests in Central America, South America and Southeast Asia. There used to be many types of tapirs on earth, but unfortunately one by one came to extinction and now there are only five species of tapir left, which are: Tapirus bairdii or commonly called the Central American tapir, commonly found in Mexico and Central America; Tapirus terrestris or Brazilian tapirs generally live in Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia.

There is also Tapirus kabomani or little black tapir which can be found on the Amazon in Colombia; Tapirus pinchaque or mountain tapir that lives in the Cordilleras mountain area in Colombia, Ecuador, and in the northern part of Peru. The one that lives in Southeast Asia is Tapirus indicus or the Malayan tapir with the characteristic ‘white shirt’ on their body. This species can be found in Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Myanmar.


Physical Appearance

Adult tapirs have a bulky body with a weight ranging from 150 to 300 kg, with a height of about 1 m and a length of 2 m. Their fur is generally thin, except for mountain tapirs that have long fur. The color varies from brownish gray, reddish brown, to dark blackish. For Malayan tapir there is white shades like t-shirts that wrap around their belly.

The little trunk they have is very flexible and can be moved in any direction, its function is to take leaves that are difficult to reach. This proboscis is also very sensitive, able to smell the food and aroma left by other tapirs.


Tapirs live by eating fruit, leaves and berries. Tapirs have a big appetite, and their main activity every day is to forage in the bush, using their unique snout to smell the food trail. An adult tapir can consume about 40 kg of food every day. No wonder their bodies are stocky and bulky.

Water Spa

Tapirs do spend most of their time on dry land, but they also like to soak or swim in the water. There are many benefits they get from being in the water, which is to eat water plants, cool the body during hot days, also to hide from predators.

Not only that, tapirs also like water for reasons of relaxation and treatment just like a spa. When bathing in water there will be many small fishes that come and eat parasites and dead cells to keep their bulky bodies healthy and clean.

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