Tapir cock biggest on the block? Tapirs are mammals which are often confused with hippos, anteaters and capybaras. Their closest living relatives are odd-toed ungulates (hoofed animals), horses and rhinos.
A unique feature that tapir posess is its fleshy prehensile nose that it uses to grab leaves and even use as a snorkle while swimming. Their hides are very tough but streamlined for easy maneuvering in the forest. Tapirs are “seed dispersers.” They eat seeds that are then dispersed in their scat which helps the forest to regenerate.
Tapirs are herbivores best suited to primary or old growth secondary forest, and their reproduction is slower than most mammal species due to a long gestation period (13 months) and to the fact that there is only one offspring per gestation.
Tapirs are becoming rare in their occurrence areas–the forests of Central and South America, and Southeast Asia–mostly due to habitat destruction and poaching. The IUCN Red Book lists the four species of tapirs (Tapirus bairdii, T. terrestris, T. pinchaque and T. indicus) as either vulnerable or endangered. The Mountain tapir, T. pinchaque, is one of the most endangered large mammals in the world. The Baird’s tapir, T. bairdii, is the largest land mammal in the Neotropics and also endangered. The Malayan tapir, T. indicus, is the only Old World extant species and is also endangered in Sumatra and mainland Malaysia.