One of the largest mammals to be found in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica, the Baird’s Tapir, was named after the American naturalist Spencer Fullerton Baird who traveled to Mexico in 1843 and observed the animals. Since then the Bairds Tapir has had to make changes due to introduction of guns and its practical extinction.
Here are 9 facts about the Baird’s Tapir and how it has evolved to protect itself:
1. If you can believe it, this huge animal is hevivorous. As a matter of fact, it is a very picky eater as well choosing only to eat certain plants.
2. It only defecates in water or in the same spot on land to reduce its trail from predators.
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3. Due to excessive hunting that occurred years ago in Central America, the Tapir has now become extremely shy, covert and evasive. Unlike before where it was a very social animal.
4. Due to poor eyes site, the Tapir is crepuscular, meaning they are active at dusk and early morning, but they have also been known to be active at night. They can smell and hear quite acutely, compensating for their poor eyesight.
5. But not all behaviors are hard to change, they still use routine trails to and from wallowing and feeding sites â€“ which make them vulnerable to hunters. However, as gigantic as they are they can run faster than a human on their short, powerful legs. Plus, they move surprisingly quietly even over muddy forest floors because their toes come together when they lift up their feet.
6. These animals are protected in National Parks throughout Costa Rica. However, Corcovado holds the highest number of them about 100-300.
7. Tapirs on a whole are independent creatures, except when a female is raising her young. Females have one baby at a time, which stays with her for a year, at which point it will be about two-thirds of her weight.
8. A Tapir mother can be compared to a mother bear – aggressively defensive of their young, and will attack humans for this reason.
9. In general Tapirs are very docile, calm animals and if you see one in the wild you will be struck with unusual beauty!