What is a tapir?



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    Tapirs are an ancient species of mammal, related to horses and rhinoceroses. There are four different species of tapir, three of which are found in Central and South America. Two species live in the forest and grasslands of the area, and the woolly tapir lives in the towering Andes Mountains. The fourth species, the Malay tapir, is found in the forests and swamplands of Southeast Asia.

    The tapir can grow to be about 29-42 inches tall at the shoulder, and weigh anywhere from 500-800 pounds. They use their trunks to grab leaves and fruit from trees as they roam throughout the dense vegetation. They spend much of their time in the water to cool off and in the mud, believed to be so they can rid themselves of ticks. Sadly, despite being around for tens of millions of years, tapirs are currently listed as an endangered species.

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