The South American Tapir (Tapirus terrestris), or Brazilian Tapir (from the tupi ''tapi'ira'') or Lowland Tapir or (in Portuguese) Anta, is one of four species in the tapir family, along with the Mountain Tapir, the Malayan Tapir, and Baird's Tapir. It is the largest wild land animal in South America.
It is dark brown in color and has a low, erect mane running from the crown down the back of the neck. The South American Tapir can attain a body length of with a short stubby tail and in weight. It stands somewhere between at the shoulder.
The South American Tapir can be found near water in the Amazon Rainforest and River Basin in South America, east of the Andes. Its range stretches from Venezuela, Colombia, and Guianas in the north to Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, in the south, to Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador in the West.
The species are excellent swimmers and divers but also moves quickly on land, even over rugged, mountainous terrain. The species has a life span of approximately 25 to 30 years. In the wild, the main predators of the South American Tapir are crocodilians and large cats such as the Jaguar and Cougar, which often attack the tapir at night when they leave the water and sleep on the riverbank. They are known to run to water when scared.
It is a herbivore. Using its mobile snout, this tapir feeds on leaves, buds, shoots, and small branches that it tears from trees, fruit, grasses, and aquatic plants.
They mate every month.
Dwindling numbers are due to poaching for meat and hide, as well as habitat destruction.
The South American Tapir is generally recognized as an endangered animal species, with the species being designated as endangered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service on June 2, 1970. The South American Tapir, however, had a significantly lower risk of extinction than the other three tapir species.
ARKive - images and movies of the lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris)
Tapir Specialist Group - Lowland Tapir
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Brazilian Tapir