Tapir (Brazilian)

Taipir Bhrasaíleach

  • Scientific name: Tapirus terrestris
  • IUCN status: Vulnerable
  • Habitat: South America east of the Andes including north Columbia, Brazil, Paraguay and north Argentina – dense, tropical forests by rivers
  • Diet: Herbivore – leaves, fruits, stems, grasses, ferns

Related to rhinos and horses, tapirs are always found near water and usually run into rivers to escape predators such as the jaguar. They are excellent swimmers and spend much time submerged to cool off and remove skin parasites. Their long, flexible snouts are used like a snorkel as well as for foraging and sniffing out danger.  Youngsters are spotted and striped for camouflage on the forest floor.

Keeper’s Secret

Tapirs can live for about 30 years so Dublin Zoo’s pair, Marmaduke and Sasha, both born in 1985, are in the prime of their lives!

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