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Brazilian or Lowland Tapir


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The Brazilian tapir or lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) is a hoofed mammal with a long, rubbery nose that forms a small trunk. Although tapirs are land animals, they spend a lot time in water and mud; they are excellent swimmers. A shy animal, the tapir lives alone or in pairs. This endangered species has a life span of about 25 years in captivity. There are other species of tapirs that live in South America and in Malaysia.

Habitat and Range: The Brazilian tapir lives in tropical rain forests, grasslands, swampy areas, and thickets of South America.

Anatomy: The Brazilian tapir is about 3 feet (91 cm) tall at the shoulder; it weighs up to 600 pounds (270 kg). It has a bulky body, short legs, and a bristly coat. The young look like brown watermelons with legs; they are light brown with white stripes and dots.

Diet: Tapirs are plant-eaters (herbivores), eating water plants, leaves, buds, fallen fruit, and twigs. The tapir uses its trunk to sniff out food, reach leaves, grab them, and bring them to its mouth.

Predators: The Brazilian tapir is preyed upon by the jaguar.

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