What I Am Not: Tapir

You would be surprised how many people do not even know what a capybara is. They have never even dreamed of our existence. This is so sad, especially because we are probably the cutest animals on earth. I’m not bragging, just stating the facts.

So I decided to start a new series: Animals I Am Not.

This series will address some of the many, many types of animals I have been misidentified as. Today’s entry is the tapir, possibly the #1 animal I am incorrectly accused of being.

Sarah Cooper provided this photo taken at the Twycross Zoo

Sarah Cooper provided this photo taken at the Twycross Zoo

I think you can see that we do not look at all alike.

Here are some of the ways we are different:

  • Capybaras are rodents, Tapirs are ungulates
    Tapirs are more closely related to horses than they are to capybaras.
  • Tapirs are much bigger than capybaras
    Tapirs are 7′ long and 3′ at the shoulder. Capybaras are 4′ long and 2′ at the shoulder.
    Tapirs weigh 300-700 lbs, Capys weigh 75 – 150 lbs
  • Tapirs have a proboscis, a long snout, whereas capybaras have a beautifully blunt nose
  • Tapirs have a very short tail, capybaras have virtually no tail (just a little nub)
  • There are four species of tapirs and only two species of capybaras
  • Baby tapirs are striped, baby capys are colored pretty much like adults
  • Spellcheckers know the word tapir but do not know capybara (I’m tired of that red underline!)
  • Tapirs are browsers whereas capybaras are grazers

Here are some of the ways we are similar:

  • We both have long, narrow bodies often described as “pig-like”
  • Our hind feet have three toes and our forefeet have four toes
  • Some tapirs live in South America right alongside capybaras
  • Tapirs and capybaras both like water
  • Tapirs and capybaras are both herbivores
  • Jaguars and crocodiles will eat either a tapir or a capybara
  • Tapirs and capybaras both like mud

I hope you have found this helpful. Don’t be ashamed if you have made this mistake yourself, just consider yourself lucky that you now know about the most wonderous animal in the world, the capybara!