When tapirs don't attack, and when Meller's duck does

After all that talk of tapirs biting people's arms off and killing Brazilian farmers, it only seems appropriate to post these pictures, taken at Bristol Zoo on Sunday (a group of us went there after SVP). The keeper obviously has a great relationship with Denzil, the male Brazilian (or Lowland) tapir Tapirus terrestris on the right (the female, on the left, is called Tamang)...


As for Meller's duck Anas melleri - a species you'll now be very familiar with - I find that they do not hesitate to attack humans, should the opportunity arise...


Still working hard to catch up after SVP, still have yet to succeed...

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Oh what a good zoo that is... I went there on the Tuesday before SVP, lots of neat stuff. Did you see the baby Pudu puda? And Euphractes sexcinctus?

This is a nonsense. Darren Naish claims that a Meller's Duck, when it is obvious that creature biting his finger is a derived pseudosuchian thecodont from the planet Zonk. Me I regret this man, for he is out of informations. HE CANNOT HIDE TRUTHS

Peter Mihalduh

By Peter Mihalduh (not verified) on 28 Sep 2009 #permalink

I'm always impressed by tapirs. How can something manage to be so ugly and so adorable at the same time?!?

By Onychomys (not verified) on 28 Sep 2009 #permalink

What can I say, it's a gift.

By Fortescue Bullrout (not verified) on 28 Sep 2009 #permalink

@Peter Mihalduh: One of Kirk Cameron's crocoducks, perhaps?

By Jamie Stearns (not verified) on 28 Sep 2009 #permalink

I remember a a scene from one of the many "zoo-soaps", which became quite popular during the last years in german TV (and which are actually among the very very rare good new things which gained popularity in TV...), where a zookeeper worked with tapirs. I don´t remember anymore at which zoo it was and what species it was, but I think it was one of the south american species. The tapirs were actually quite peacefull and acted nearly like pets, and there was no doubt they especially enjoyed it to be brushed. It is really hard to believe that such an animal can literally torn humans to pieces, and they are hardly among the most dangerous animals in zoos where direct contact is always avoided as one commentor claimed. On the other hand it can be also interesting how even "peaceful" animals can turn from one second to the other aggressive, especially when I remember a somewhat strange encounter with sheep at Denmark some weeks ago.

Im surprised that the malayan tapir so rarely finds it's way into any zoo's, oh and Darren have you been watching last chance to see?

By Zach Hawkins (not verified) on 28 Sep 2009 #permalink

Who can that be, popping a finger through the cage bars?
Is it young Albert, surving his encounter with a zoo lion?

ref: Poem: Albert and the Lion

Is Tamang pregnant?

Tamang has had several succesful calves, which are now at other collections. Unfortunately she lost last years calf, but pregnancy for tapirs is around 13 months so she is about due. I am not sure why, but Malaysan tapirs in particular have a reputation for being agressive -possibly a million years of being hunted by hominids as opposed to a few thousand for the South American species is the cause. Most of the tapirs you will see in Europe are Lowland Tapirs, with some Malayan Tapirs - I believe there are some Baird's tapirs in Germany but the only Mountain Tapirs outside South America are in the US

There is a malayan tapir at the zoo of Stuttgart and a Baird tapir at one of the two zoos of Berlin. But all the other tapirs I have seen where (as far as I know) lowland tapirs.

Alan - I have a strong feeling I spoke to you on Sunday but didn't realise until afterwards. This was near the Mongoose lemurs, while both were huddled together and resting on a branch over the path.

My question to you is: are you serious?

By Daniella Perea (not verified) on 30 Sep 2009 #permalink

hello am day a speech on tapir they are such cute animals

The Toronto Zoo has a tapir. It looks a lot bigger than that in my memory. The zoo considers it dangerous; its viewing area is in a pit with water next to the wall and a heavy glass shield over the water. The job of tapir-keeper is risky: I have heard from zoo personnel that about one a year is killed by tapirs.

Mind you, risks are relative: my father-in-law pointed out that in his natal farm county in rural Ontario, back when bulls were kept for siring (before the development of frozen sperm and artificial insemination), about one farmer a year would be killed by a bull.