Monthly Archives: April 2015

World Tapir Day

As it is World Tapir Day, I have decided to do a post with a few fact about Tapirs – enjoy!

The Tapir is a large, solitary mammal; with a short, prehensile snout (looks like a mini trunk). Being prehensile, this can be used as a we would a finger/hand – the Tapir uses it to wrap around branches and pull of the tasty leaves and vegetation it feeds on. The Tapir is a herbivore; using this “mini trunk” to help it obtain food, as it will spend a lot of time foraging for food. The Tapir eats twigs/ branches, leaves, shoots, buds, berries/ fruits, and even aquatic plants.

Tapirs live in the jungle and forest regions of South anf Central America, and Southeast Asia. They live within the dense undergrowth on the jungle or forest floor – except for the Mountain Tapir (as the name suggests).

These have all been classified as endangered or threatened species. They are relates to other ungulates, including horses and rhinoceroses. They are however odd-toed ungulates, unlike the horse.

There are four species of Tapir:

  • Brazilian Tapir
  • Mountain Tapir
  • Malayan (or Asian) Tapir
  • Baird’s Tapir

The Baird’s Tapir has cream coloured markings lining the tips of the ears, under the chin, and continuing down to the chest  – making it easy to identify. It inhabits forests of Central and South America.

Baird's Tapir (Open Source Image)
Baird’s Tapir (Open Source Image)

The Malayan Tapir is the largest of the Tapir species. It has a distinctive colouration; being dark grey/ black in colour with a white band around from the midriff to the hind; around the body. The Malayan Tapir inhabited the tropical forests across South East Asia; however, today has a much smaller habitat range (due to habitat loss caused primarily by man). This species is my personal favourite.

Malayan Tapir (Open Source Image)
Malayan Tapir (Open Source Image)

The Mountain Tapir is the smallest of the Tapir species and lives in mountainous regions; unlike the other three species. It can be found in the high forests in the Andes mountains (Colombia, Ecuador and parts north of Peru). This is the furriest species- needing a thicker coat to help keep it warm in the mountains. The Mountain Tapir has the same cream tipped ears as the Baird’s Tapir, however it also has cream markings around the mouth (personally I think it looks like cream coloured lipstick!) making it easy to distinguish.

Mountain Tapir (Open Source Image)
Mountain Tapir (Open Source Image)

The Brazilian Tapir is known to be a great swimmer and the is generally found close to water; in the Amazon Rainforest. The colouration of this species is a light brown; with an even paler colouration running under the body. The Brazilian Tapir also has slightly smaller ears, that sit further to the side (rather than the top) of the head – when compared to the other three species.

Brazilian Tapir (Open Source Image)
Brazilian Tapir (Open Source Image)

Baby Tapirs are usually brown in colour, with spots and stripes on their coats; this helps them blend in to the undergrowth, and helps them to stay hidden from predators – as they cannot run as fast as mum to get away, hiding is the best option for the little ones.

Baby Tapir (Open Source Image)
Baby Tapir (Open Source Image)

Funny Looking Species: Star-nosed mole

Continuing my theme of  facts about different species; ‘Largest Species’ and ‘Smallest Species’, I will do some ‘Funny Looking Species’. The bizarre and extraordinary looking species on our magnificent planet.

The Star-nosed mole is more than your average, garden-variety mole; digging up your (UK) garden! Found in Canada and Northern USA; the Star-nosed mole has a unique way of finding food and travel routes, that is quite different. The “Star-nose” is made up of 22 fleshy appendages which are full of sensory receptors.

Every single one of the 22 appendages, that make up the star, is completely covered with tiny, sensitive projections known as Eimer’s organs. The star has 25,000+ Eimer’s organs per cm², making it incredibly sensitive. It’s like have loads of very sensitive fingers on your nose!

Star Nosed Mole
Star Nosed Mole (open source image)

These strange looking, little creatures weigh 75g, and grow 175-205mm; on average. It is an insectivore; burrowing through dirt, and eating insects it digs out in tunnels, as it goes – with the two big, powerful front paws, and long claws that this little mole is equipped for.

Not all that dissimilar to the averge (nosed) mole – it just has a funny looking nose! ☺