Lowland tapir

The Lowland tapir can be found in South America.

Tapir like to be near the water of the Amazon rainforest and river basin.

That’s a huge area stretching from Venezuela in the north all the way down to Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay in the south. They move quickly on land, even over rugged, mountainous terrain and are equally at home in the water.

The Lowland tapir (sometimes called the Brazilian tapir or South American tapir), is one of four species in the tapir family, along with the mountain tapir, the Malayan tapir, and Baird’s Tapir.

The thing that stands out most about the tapir is his funny looking nose. It’s actually prehensile or capable of holding onto things, which means they can use it like a small version of an elephant’s trunk.


Our Lowland tapir are currently part of a European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP).  They are classified as vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List. Because they live in rainforests, the destruction of their home is the biggest threat to their survival.

Lowland tapir questions and answers

They were a lot bigger than I was expecting…
They are quite big aren’t they? In fact they are the largest wild land animal in South America.

Are tapirs related to pigs?
No they’re not actually. Although you would think it to look at them wouldn’t you? It’s actually believed to be most closely related to horses and rhinos.

Tapir swimming in pond at Folly Farm

Do tapirs live in large groups?
No they don’t. Completely the opposite in fact. They are very solitary animals so they like to be alone. The only exception to this is during mating season or when a mother is nursing her baby.

A sloth hanging from a branch
Banner Background Image

Adopt an animal

The perfect gift for animal lovers! Always wanted your own sloth? Well now you can sponsor one for 12 months

Buy now
Banner Background Image

Conservation Partners

With your help - we're supporting numerous conservation projects working to save animals in the wild

Learn more
visitor taking part in a giraffe feeding experience
Banner Background Image

Animal experiences

Ever fancied feeding a giraffe? Or getting up close to a penguin? Now you can with our experiences

Tell me more
Zoo Membership

We're proud to be members of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). Our membership means we share knowledge with leading zoos across the UK and Europe, and we learn from them too.