Sure tapirs might look like the product dropping an inbred elephant baby on its head a few times, and in Brazil the word “tapir” might be synonymous with “jackass”, but don’t let that fool you, because they’re actually quite cool. In fact, people love them. Not only is there a World Tapir Day (April 27th), but there’s also a yearly International Tapir Symposium, and they can dance! So in case you missed boarding the tapir fan train, here’s a few reasons why you should jump on board. Let’s talk about tapirs!
As we’ve mentioned before, Malayan tapirs have some pretty awesome rock-at-night camouflaging abilities and tapirs in general give birth to watermelons with legs after a ridiculously long 13 month gestation period, so we won’t really go into much detail about that here. What we will talk about, however, is the time leading up to the pregnancy. During the mating season male tapirs will fight for females by biting their feet and chasing eachother. Really though, what seems to be the most popular aspect of tapir mating is their penis. Seriously, this monstrously large, prehensile beast has gotten the attention of just about everyone- just type tapir into youtube if you don’t believe me, it’s mostly tapirs mating and mostly NSFW. That being said, it’s apparently not the most popular animal penis out there, as, according to the Huffington Post, both echidna penises (which we’ve actually talked about before) and duck penises are more popular. So you, you know, there’s that.
But enough talk about penises.
At the other end of its body, the tapir’s nose is also pretty interesting. Similar to an elephant’s nose, the tapir’s nose is also prehensile and tube-like. This mini trunk of theirs is helpful for not only finding and grabbing food, but also for swimming. Tapirs apparently love the water, and use their nose as a snorkel to breath while they walk along the bottom of rivers and lakes, similar to what a hippo does. They’ll even use their trunk to hide from predators, using its snorkel-like capabilities to stay submerged underwater and out of sight of anything hungry enough to eat them.
Really though, one of the most surprising things about tapirs (in my opinion at least, for others it might just be their monster dong) is how old their are. Tapirs have survived around 4 extinction events-not mass extinction events however- remaining fairly unchanged for about 20 million years. This not only makes them living fossils, but also the oldest surviving large mammal species in the world. So while they might not have the longest trunk or the most popular dick, they’re apparently doing something right.
By now I’m sure we’ve all jumped on the tapir train, but just in case you need a little bit more convincing, why don’t you check out the links below for some more info on these well endowed living fossils- like how there’s actually five different species of them: