Like all baby Tapirs, a newborn Baird’s Tapir born August 28 at the Nashville Zoo looks suspiciously like a brown watermelon with a snout. But rest assured, this little male will eventually sport a smooth, dark brown coat and weigh up to 800 pounds.
Because this calf was Juliet’s first baby, the zoo staff set up a remote camera system and monitored her around the clock as her delivery date approached. Juliet went into labor at 4:00 PM on August 28 and delivered her healthy calf just 20 minutes later. Tapirs are pregnant for about 400 days.
Tapirs’ snouts are elongated and very flexible. These snouts are used to grab leaves and other vegetation and pass it to the mouth.
Baird’s Tapirs are native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America, where they are the largest land mammals. They have very few natural predators, but are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, mainly due to habitat destruction and poaching. Tapirs are legally protected in most of their range, but lack of enforcement results in significant losses.