Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Tapir, any individual of the genus Tapirus of the odd-toed division of Ungulates, with four species from America and one from the Oriental region. In form they are somewhat like large pigs. the ears are short, the eyes small, and the snout is produced into a short flexible proboscis used for gathering their vegetable food. The fore limbs bear four and the hinder ones three digits. In habit the tapirs are solitary and nocturnal, frequenting lakes and rivers, the latter situation affording them opportunities for bathing and a place of refuge when pursued, for they are hunted for their skin, which makes excellent leather, and for their flesh, which is good eating. The American Tapir (T. americanus), from Brazil and Paraguay, is the best-known species; there are two others from Central America, and one from the high region of the Andes. Their colour when adult is dark-brown, but their young and those of the Malayan Tapir are marked with light spots, and stripes on a dark gtound. The Malayan Tapir (T. indicus), from the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, and Borneo, has the body white, with the head and limbs glossy black.