Tapirs A group of tapirs is called a 'candle'
Type mammal
Shoulder Height 100cm
Weight 225kg
Diet herbivore

South American tapir

Tapirus terrestris
  • Summary

    Our tapirs are one of the most popular animals at the Zoo. Related to other hooved mammals including horses and rhinos, their main feature is a short, flexible snout that pulls in and holds its food, simlar to an elephants trunk. Interestingly tapirs have a different number of toes on their back and front feet, with four digits at the front feet and just three toes at the back.

    Our tapirs live in Zona Brazil with their South American counter parts, the capybara. 

    It is thought that tapirs have changed very little over tens of millions of years of evolution.

  • Dietary

    Tapirs are herbivores and eat fresh fruit and vegetables, pellet, hay and leaves.

  • Habitat

    Tapirs are native to the rainforests and tropical grasslands of South Amercia. They are mainly active at night and can often be found resting in dense undergrowth or wallowing in steams. 

  • Conservation

    Tapirs are under threat from hunting, forest clearance and swamp drainage. However, because of their shy nature they are often overlooked and the total population may be larger than previously realised. 

    Tapirs were recently discovered living in Estacao Veracruz, a private reserve in Bahia State, Brazil. There is concern that small populations such as these are becoming separated by deforestation. 

    IUCN Red List species link

  • Did you know...

    Our tapirs enjoy cuddling up with the capybara - both species share our South American mixed species exhibit.

    Tapirs are a very tactile species that enjoys close contact, and they love swimming and playing in their outdoor pool. They also have great hearing and a very strong sense of smell which they use to find their food. 

  • Where to find us at Bristol Zoo

    You can find our tapirs in Zona Brazil


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