Despite their bulky appearance (between 300 and 700 pounds, and around seven feet long), tapirs can run surprisingly fast. This, along with the thick skin that helps to protect the back of their necks, helps them to avoid their main predators, like jaguars, tigers, caimans, and anacondas. Although the distinctive coat patterns of adult tapir help to camouflauge them a bit, the young are especially camouflaged, with spots and stripes, much like two of their main predators, the jaguar and tiger, respectively.
|A statue depicting the struggle between a pair of jaguars and their tapir prey. The statue was one of many at the fantastic Brookgreen Gardens near Myrtle Beach in South Carolina.|
Each species of tapir has its own range, generally with little or no overlap. The Brazilian tapir inhabits most of northern South America, generally not venturing much further south than the Tropic of Capricorn. Meanwhile, the Baird's tapir lives in southern Mexico, Central America, as well as the South American country of Colombia. It is also possible that it lives in Ecuador. Next, the mountain tapir lives in just a small strip of land in the South American countries of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, in the Cordilerras Mountains. Finally, the Malayan tapir is found in the lowland rainforests in the countries of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Don't forget to check in later in the day for this weeks "A Look Ahead!"