It's not just every day you get to marinate with a tapir, man...
April 27, 2010 11:24 AM   Subscribe

April 27th is World Tapir Day! Take a few minutes to celebrate our prehensile-schnozzed fellow mammals by learning some facts, viewing some cuteness, or supporting the cause.
posted by palmcorder_yajna (37 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
You usually see pictures of the Tapirs being all small and cute, which was why the sheer size of the one at Toronto Zoo surprised me.

Damn thing is huge.
posted by Brockles at 11:33 AM on April 27, 2010

Tapirs have always been one of my favorite animals. Thanks.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:36 AM on April 27, 2010

Hey, they're pandas! Well, sorta if you only look at the colors of the ones that are black and white.
posted by Some1 at 11:36 AM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hunh, odd. I was wondering why I hadn't heard about this before now. Apparently it's not very widely celebrated in the US? Too bad, because I <3 tapirs something fierce.
posted by booknerd at 11:42 AM on April 27, 2010

Speaking of huge (NSFW, assuming you should not look at tapir peen at work)
posted by coryinabox at 11:43 AM on April 27, 2010

D'oh. That's what "peen" means. Thenk yew!

I love the stripes the little ones sport. Thanks for this post; I did not know there was a World Tapir Day.
posted by heyho at 11:46 AM on April 27, 2010

My introduction to tapirs was via Tammy Tapir's strawberry jam tanker, into which Roger Rhino's wrecking crane drove at the end of Richard Scarry's A Day At The Airport.

A phenomenal book to read to toddlers!
posted by Fraxas at 11:53 AM on April 27, 2010

Most relevant: what's your favorite ungulate? [animals signing and dancing warning]
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 11:57 AM on April 27, 2010

Long live the zebra-monkey-pigopotamus!!!
posted by nosila at 11:58 AM on April 27, 2010

Wow. I used to be really into tapirs, but then my interest in them sort of gradually, um... went away? Like, it slowly disappeared over time. There's probably a word for it, I dunno.
posted by hifiparasol at 12:04 PM on April 27, 2010 [11 favorites]

The adults are pretty large at the back end and very small at the trunk, so I guess their name is apt.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:06 PM on April 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

I think it's time we ended the horrible cycle of tapir-capybara violence.
posted by GuyZero at 12:07 PM on April 27, 2010

My introduction to tapirs was via an Italian porno movie. I'm not joking. [Shudder.]
posted by cropshy at 12:12 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Cute! One of my favorite sculptures at the Sackler is this little guy. For years, it was just listed as "quadruped" but I guess at some point someone thought it might be a tapir (but were unsure enough to leave a question mark).
posted by JoanArkham at 12:24 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Hilldale Zoo in Hamilton, New Zealand, used to have tapirs. There was a place in the fence where you could reach through and they would gently snuffle your hand with their probosces and present their heads to be scratched. They were adorable. I love tapirs. If I could swing it I'd have a little tapir family at my retirement villa in the country, just so I could watch them potter about the garden. I would feed them apples and give them names.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:27 PM on April 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

Bonus points for the title.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:27 PM on April 27, 2010

I am all for celebrating animals with funny noses.
posted by Marit at 12:57 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I like tapirs, because it looks like their heads are on upside-down.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:03 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Can I have a day, too? Huh? Can I? Can I?

"World Pickle Day" -- sounds good, doesn't it?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:07 PM on April 27, 2010

For the bulk of my life, tapirs have always reminded me of this scene from Heavy Metal.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 1:10 PM on April 27, 2010

My introduction to tapirs was via an Italian porno movie. I'm not joking. [Shudder.]

Hardcore tapirs?
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 1:12 PM on April 27, 2010 [4 favorites]

Chocolate Pickle:

You want? You got.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:12 PM on April 27, 2010

Are the animals at the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey tapirs?
posted by Ratio at 1:26 PM on April 27, 2010

My introduction to tapirs was via an Italian porno movie. I'm not joking. [Shudder.]

Did they tapir off?
posted by pracowity at 1:27 PM on April 27, 2010

Better to light a taper rather than curse the tapir.
posted by benzenedream at 1:38 PM on April 27, 2010

There is a pair of Tapirs at the Omaha Zoo in the rainforest exhibit. My husband and I have always considered them a favorite, and love the way they lumber around like a fat married couple, snacking and chatting.

The one thing that always puzzled us about their pen was that they could only be viewed at eye level through a thick glass window on the first story of the rainforest exhibit building. Otherwise, we had to stand on a walkway with a railing encircling the pen nearly two stories above the animals and look down at them. It was puzzling; this was how tigers, sharks or other dangerous animals are housed at a zoo. Why did these gentle creatures merit similar treatment?

One day we took a visit and were determined to find out. Maybe they were aggressive around meal times or could chew through bars? So, we stood there for about 15 minutes looking down at them from above. And in those 15 minutes they didn't to much of...anything, really. They sniffed each other, they munched on leaves, they stared into the distance. After a while we were convinced that they were just being housed in a repurposed panther pen.

But just as were were just about to move on one of the Tapirs grunted and let out an impressive stream of urine. It arced ten feet high through the air like a stream from a garden hose and splattered against the wall just a few feet below us. In reply, the other tapir squealed also blasted a jet of urine in the opposite direction, and for a few seconds they looked like massive twin garden sprinklers.

Tapirs are full of surprises. They have a splash zone.
posted by Alison at 2:13 PM on April 27, 2010 [17 favorites]

Years ago, a benefit was held here in Seattle for Jack Boulware, a writer for The Nose magazine. As part of the entertainment the infamous tapir film was screened...
posted by Tube at 2:39 PM on April 27, 2010

Yes, Alison, tapirs are copious widdlers. I got splashed at London Zoo many years ago by a tapir that was showing off its ability to run, corner and wee at the same time.
I am yet to developed super tapir-powers ...
posted by scruss at 4:15 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Are the animals at the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey tapirs?

posted by gubo at 4:59 PM on April 27, 2010

I doubt think tapirs are cute. They're big and strong. In 1998, a tapir bit off the arm of a zookeeper in Oklahoma City.
posted by millardsarpy at 5:34 PM on April 27, 2010

Whenever my coworkers and I speculate about which zoo animals we'd like to trade places with I'm pretty adamant that the tapirs have it best. They float around in a pool, in the shade, while their keepers feed them fruit all day. This is the life for me.
posted by Neofelis at 6:39 PM on April 27, 2010

thanks for the post and the awareness creation. i grew up hearing folktales about them from the local culture (Malaysia) but nobody ever seems to have heard about them. they're not quite the panda are they?
posted by infini at 10:04 PM on April 27, 2010

Here's another great organization helping to save the tapirs: Kendra Bauer, the project director, gave a talk at the museum where I work, and we were all really impressed by the research they are doing in Costa Rica. My museum also happens to be sitting on top of the world's largest fossil tapir deposit :)
posted by Mouse Army at 5:32 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Tapirs are full of surprises. They have a splash zone.

Thats funny, I have a tapir urine story as well. I was at a zoo with my whole family, and we were standing right next to the tapir enclosure, but we couldn't see any animals. My sister says, "I heard they like to pee on people." Just as she says this, we see a tapir come out from behind a bush all the way at the other end of the enclosure.

"he can't pee on us from over there, can he?" I say. The tapir is walking towards us.

"I don't know," my sister says.

"There's no way they can pee on us from that far away," I say.

"He's walking right towards us," my dad says.

"He's not going to pee on us," I say. "You made that up."

"I didn't, he likes to pee on people," my sister says.

The tapir walks right up to the fence. I look around and realize the zoo path dead ends right here, so there's only one way out.

"He's turning around," my mom says.

"Why's he turning around?" my girlfriend says.

"He's turning around!" I yell. The six of us make a jumbled, crowded, panicky, and not entirely successful effort to get away. Our tapir had a more scattered shot, which is probably most effective for hitting running tourists.
posted by Hoenikker at 7:57 AM on April 28, 2010 [4 favorites]

sidebar this, gotta be the best tapee'er story evah
posted by infini at 8:15 AM on April 28, 2010

Regarding tapir peen ... My wife and I went to the SF Zoo's Valentine's Day Sex Tour event a few years ago. Various zoo workers regale you with their strangest animal copulation stories.

One of the zookeepers told the tale of a male tapir who was well-endowed to the point that he ended up stepping on his member. Tapirs can weigh up to 700 pounds.

Unfortunately for Mr. Tapir, the member-trampling was severe and the organ became swollen and inflamed from the injury. The tapir was noticeably forlorn and depressed during this time. After several days, the tapir's penis changed color to black and after a week it eventually fell off. The tapir, perhaps in an attempt to recapture his lost manhood (or more likely, sensing a nearby source of protein), ate it. His mood went back to normal afterward.

So, the SF Zoo Sex Tour is interesting, but I wouldn't say it's exactly romantic.
posted by benzenedream at 11:50 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

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