Life Span: 25-35 years
Size: 1.7m-2m long
Ancient Species: Tapirs are true living fossils. The species is over 35 million years old, but despite having roamed the earth for millennia, most people have no idea what they are. Keepers even overheard a child call Tiquie a ‘snorkle pig’!
Proboscis: Tapirs have a short trunk, or proboscis, which provides them with both an excellent sense of smell and the ability to pull leaves into its mouth.
Swimming: Tapirs are excellent swimmers and are rarely found far from water. When immersed they are well hidden, with only the tip of their proboscis appearing at the surface to breathe and sniff the air – like a snorkel! Tapirs submerge themselves to escape from predators.
Rainforest Gardeners: Tapirs are instrumental in the dispersal of seeds in the rainforest, with many seeds passing intact through their digestive system - even germinating in their faeces, a perfect little mound of fertiliser!
“Watermelon Calves”: The markings of the calf are quite different to that of the adult, being a reddish-brown colour with yellow and white stripes and spots all over its body. These marking allow them to camouflage extremely well in the dense rainforest.
Threats: Tapirs are under threat from hunting, forest clearance and swamp drainage.