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South American Tapir
|Lifespan||25 - 30 years|
|Average Height||77 to 108 cm (30 to 43 in) at the shoulder|
|Average Weight||150 to 320 kg (330 to 710 lb)|
Average: 225 kg (496 lb)
|Average Length||1.8 to 2.5 m (5.9 to 8.2 ft) excluding tail|
Tail: 5 to 10 cm (2.0 to 3.9 in)
|Prey||Leaves, buds, shoots, and small branches|
The Lowland Tapir (Tapirus terrestris) is a species of tapir native to Central America and northern South America. It is the second-largest land mammal in South America, behind its cousin, the Baird's Tapir.
It is dark brown in color, 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 lowland 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 reportedly ranged from 150 to 320 kg (330 to 710 lb). It stands somewhere between 77 to 108 cm (30 to 43 in) at the shoulder.
They mate in April, May, or June, reaching sexual maturity in their third year of life. Females go through a gestation period of 13 months (390–395 days) and will typically have one offspring every two years. Newborn tapirs weigh about 15 pounds and will be weaned in about six months.
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 South America in the far north) 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. Lowland tapirs are also attacked by green anacondas. They are known to run to water when scared to take cover.