Sunday, March 16, 2008
The tapir looks a pig but is related to the rhinoceros and the horse. Four species make up the genus Tapirus, family Tapiridae. Tapir are 1.8 to 2.4 m (6 to 8 ft) long, stand about 1 m (40 in) high at the shoulder, and may weigh more than 270 kg (600 lb). The tapering and sloping face ends in a small, movable trunk. The eyes is rounded, the legs, and the tail stumpy. Each forefoot has four toes and each hind foot three. The Brazilian tapir, T. terrestris, range from Colombia and Venezuela to Brazil; Baird's tapir T. bairdi, from southerm Mexico to Equador; and the wooly Andean, or mountain, tapir, T. roulini, from Venezuela to Peru. These three species are reddish brown to black above, lighter below. The Asiatic, or Malayan tapir, T. indicus, is black on the front half and legs and white on the back and sides. Tapirs move quickly in open or jungle habitat and are good swimmers. They feed on almost any plant and also raid farm crops.