Tapirus terrestris
Body Length:6'–7'
Tail Length:1"–4"
Weight:Up to 550 lbs
Geographic 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
Status in the Wild:Vulnerable

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.

• These tapirs have four digits on their forefeet, while the hind feet have three.

• They spend much of their time in the water ridding themselves of skin parasites, feeding, and cooling off.

• They are hunted for food, sport, and the value of their thick hide, which is used to make leather whips and bridles.

• Females have a single pair of mammae in their groin area.

• Tapirs make many vocalizations ranging from whistling sounds to birdlike chirping.

• At Brookfield Zoo, they are offered daily enrichment, which includes brushing, baths, scents, novel foods, and mechanical toys such as balls and puzzle feeders.