Tapirs are not only interesting-looking animals, they have an impressive history. Their fossil records go back nearly 20-million years! Ancient tapirs would not have looked much different from the tapirs today, although their noses didn't grow to the present length until the last few million years.
What a Beauty!
The most noticeable feature of the tapir is its nose. A tapir's nose looks and functions like a shortened version of an elephant's trunk. It can move its nose in all directions and grab food with it.
Tapirs are herbivores. They eat mostly plant matter that they find on the ground or at eye level. For the majority of the day, tapirs search for food. They are big animals, so it's hard for them to get through the thick rainforest. They carve paths through the forest like bulldozers and generally forage along them with their noses to the ground.
We will search for well-worn tapir trails. Although, I am not sure that I would want to try to out-run a tapir in the rainforest.
For further exploration, check out the following web sites.
Wilderness Classroom's Rainforest Library: Tapirs
National Geographic's Animal Photos and Facts
The Tapir Gallery
The Belize Zoo's Animal Facts: Tapirs
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