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Zoo location: 
Scientific Name: 
Tapirus terrestris
Species class: 
Population Trend: 
Quick Facts

Life Span: 25-35 years

Size: 1.7m-2m long

Weight: 225-250kgs

Fun Facts

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.

The Brazilian Tapir, or the Lowland Tapir, is one of five species in the tapir family. It is also the alrgest native terrestrial mammal in the Amazon.

At Taronga:

At Taronga Zoo we have 1 Brazilian Tapir, a female named Tiquie (DOB: 11 Jan 1996). 

Tiquie came from Adelaide Zoo on 16 October 2006; and has since settled into Taronga’s African Waterhole. 

Coming from the Amazon rainforests, Brazilian Tapirs are semi-aquatic and quite used to warm, humid conditions.  

Health Checks: Although this species are normally solitary and quite elusive in the wild, Tiquie seems to revel in her keepers attention. This allows them to perform daily hands on health checks and grooming sessions with her and monitor her well being.  

Each day they thoroughly check her feet, ears, eyes and brush her dark brown wiry mane. Once all of this is completed she likes nothing more than a chin and thigh scratch. She is a real sweetheart and loves the interaction. A trait that has also been witnessed with other Tapirs in captivity.

Diet: Tiquie has a very healthy diet including sweet potato, broccoli, apples, carrots, hay and her favourite tasty treats, pears and bananas

Swimming: Tiquie enjoys taking a dip in the pond in her exhibit. In the hot, dry Sydney summer Tiquie gets extra showers to keep her cool and moist. 

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