It is dark brown, paler in the face, and has a low, erect crest running from the crown down the back of the neck. The round, dark ears have distinctive white edges. The South American tapir can attain a body length of 1.8 to 2.5 m (5.9 to 8.2 ft) with a 5 to 10 cm (2.0 to 3.9 in) short stubby tail and an average weight around 225 kg (496 lb). Adult weight has been reported ranging from 150 to 320 kilograms (330 to 710 lb).
Lowland tapirs are excellent swimmers and divers, but also move quickly on land, even over rugged, mountainous terrain. They have a life span of approximately 25 to 30 years. In the wild, their main predators are crocodilians (only the black caiman and Orinoco crocodile, the latter of which is critically endangered, are large enough to take these tapirs, as the American crocodile only exists in the northern part of South America) and large cats, such as the jaguar and cougar, which often attack tapirs at night when they leave the water and sleep on the riverbank. Brazilian tapirs are also attacked by green anacondas. They are known to run to water when scared to take cover.
In the wild
The South American tapir can be found near water in the Amazon Rainforest and River Basin in South America, east of the Andes. Its range stretches from Venezuela, Colombia, and the Guianas in the north toBrazil, Argentina, and Paraguay in the south, to Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador in the West.
It is an herbivore. Using its mobile nose, the tapir feeds on leaves, buds, shoots, and small branches it tears from trees, fruit, grasses, and aquatic plants. This is known because the diet is studied through observation of browsing, analysis of feces, and studying stomach contents.