South American tapirs are known for being strong swimmers. They are able to cross rivers and take to the water to escape predators (using their snouts as snorkels to breathe through while hidden underwater).
Tapir calves are born camouflaged. They have brown coats with white spots and stripes which help them blend into the dappled light of their environment and avoid predators. These markings are often compared to looking like a watermelon! The markings gradually fade after a few months and their coats begin to look dark brown like adult tapirs.
20 million years old
Tapirs have been around for 20 million years and haven't changed very much at all. They are considered the most primitive large mammal in the world.
Gardeners of the rainforest
Tapirs are often known as gardeners of the rainforest. This is because the seeds of the fruits they eat are dispersed in their faeces (poo) when they wander from one area to another. Those seeds later sprout and grow into new trees and plants, helping the forest to regenerate.
Tapirs are from the same order, or group of animals, as rhinos, horses and zebras. They are all grouped together because they walk on an odd number of toes. Tapirs have four toes at the front and three at the back.