tapir

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tapir

(tā`pər), nocturnal, herbivorous mammal, genus Tapirus, of the jungles of Central and South America and SE Asia. The tapir is somewhat piglike in appearance; however, it is not related to the pig, but to the horsehorse,
hoofed, herbivorous mammal now represented by a single extant genus, Equus. The term horse commonly refers only to the domestic Equus caballus and to the wild Przewalski's horse.
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 and the rhinocerosrhinoceros,
massive hoofed mammal of Africa, India, and SE Asia, characterized by a snout with one or two horns. The rhinoceros family, along with the horse and tapir families, forms the order of odd-toed hoofed mammals.
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, with which it forms the order of odd-toed hoofed mammals. The body of the tapir is rounded and covered with sparse fur. Its snout is long and flexible. The legs are short and end in broad feet with hoofed toes; there are four toes on the front feet and five on the hind feet. Tapirs live in dense forest, browsing by night on leaves and twigs. Usually found near water, they swim well and drink a great deal. They often take to water when threatened and can crash through thick underbrush with great speed.

The Asian, or Malayan, tapir, T. indicus, of Malaya and Sumatra, is black with a white saddle extending over the rump. The adult is about 3 ft (90 cm) high at the shoulder and 6 to 8 ft (180–240 cm) long; it weighs about 650 lb (300 kg). The Malayan tapir is considered endangered. There are three New World species. The South American, or Brazilian, tapir, T. terrestris, inhabits marshy lowlands from Colombia to N Argentina. The adult, a little smaller than the Asian species, is a uniform dark brown, but the young is conspicuously striped and spotted. The Central American, or Baird's, tapir, T. bairdi, is similarly colored but almost as large as a donkey. It is found in undisturbed rain forests from S Mexico to NW South America; because of the continuous elimination of this habitat the existence of this species is threatened. The mountain tapir, T. pinchaque, is found at high altitudes in the Andes Mts. and has thick, black fur.

Tapirs were widely distributed in tropical regions until the Pleistocene epoch, when most species became extinct. They are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Perissodactyla, family Tapiridae.

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tapir

[′tā·pər]
(vertebrate zoology)
Any of several large odd-toed ungulates of the family Tapiridae that have a heavy, sparsely hairy body, stout legs, a prehensile muzzle, a short tail, and small eyes.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

tapir

any perissodactyl mammal of the genus Tapirus, such as T. indicus (Malayan tapir), of South and Central America and SE Asia, having an elongated snout, three-toed hind legs, and four-toed forelegs: family Tapiridae
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The exotic little creature is a Malayan tapir, an endangered species which is related to both the horse and the rhinoceros.
He is only the second baby tapir to be born at the zoo, with the species at risk of extinction.
Our Brazilian tapir family were snapped enjoying a brisk early morning swim together.
An impressive Malayan tapir exhibit features both outdoor and indoor pools while offering stunning viewing opportunities for visitors to enjoy a completely unique perspective of the animals.
In total, samples were obtained from 47 tapirs (18 adult females, one sub-adult female, one juvenile female, 19 adult males, three sub-adult males and five juvenile males).
The male data set was one of the largest, in terms of number of locations fixes, reported for any mammal using GPS telemetry in tropical forests (Blake, Douglas-Hamilton, & Karesh, 2003; Boyle, Lourenco, da Silva, & Smith, 2009; Schuttler, Blake, & Eggert, 2012; Castellanos, 2013) and particularly for lowland tapirs, which is a very secretive and difficult species to follow in the field (Tobler, 2009).
A tapir has an extended wiggly snout that can be used as a snorkel when the animal is under water.
The penguins, otters, meerkats, anacondas, rhinos and giraffes also proved popular with the boys but it was the newborn tapir Lolita, who stole all our hearts.
Baird's tapirs, Nicaragua's largest land mammal, do not reach sexual maturity until they are between two and four years old.
Even though tapirs are natural swimmers, using their trunks as snorkels, they are being wiped out by flooding caused by the damming of rivers for hydroelectric projects.