Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Michaela K.Is Most Excited to Study the Tapir
The animal I am most looking forward to studying in Costa Rica is the tapir. There are four species of tapirs: the Brazilian tapir, the Malayan tapir, the Baird’s tapir, and the Mountain tapir. All four species of tapirs are classified as endangered or vulnerable. The Baird’s tapir is the largest mammal in Costa Rica. The tapir is a strange looking animal with a long flexible snout that is closely related to horses and rhinoceroses. The average tapir is around 7 feet long, 3 feet tall, and weighs from 300 to 700 pounds.
Tapirs have short black hair over thick leathery black skin. The lifespan of a tapir is approximately 25 to 30 years. The tapir diet consists of fruit, berries, and leaves. Tapirs normally live in dry land forests, although when near a water source they will spend a great deal of time in and under water. Tapirs will swim and sink to the bottom of a water source to walk along the riverbed to feed on soft vegetation, take refuge from predators, and cool off during hot days. Tapirs also sit in mud pits to keep cool. Costa Rican tapirs are very timid and wary.