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Tapirs are uniquely South American mammals and the largest land animals of the continent. They belong in the odd-toed group of mammals (horses, rhinoceros, etc.) and are the only South American representatives of that group. Of the two species, only the Brazilian tapir is found in Amazonia. It occurs throughout northern South America east of the Andes. Due to their large size, tapirs have been heavily hunted and are increasingly rare in the wild. They are officialy endangered.

Click below to see the photos and information on the tapir:

Brazilian tapir

juvenile tapir


Brazilian tapir photo

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The Brazilian Tapir (Tapirus terrestris) is the largest land animal of the Amazon. Their sensitive elongated upper lip helps them smell out food (grasses, shoots, fruit, fungi) on the forest floor and to grasp leaves and grass to put in the mouth.

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juvenile tapir photo

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A juvenile tapir has coloration that helps it blend in with surrounding vegetation. The adult tapir is a uniform brown. Young tapir are vulnerable to carnivores such as jaguars, ocelots, and large caimans.

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Learn about tapir natural history

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