The South American Tapir is the second largest mammal on the continent. Tapirs are unique-looking animals with snouts that look like the base of an elephant's trunk and hooves. While many people guess that tapirs are related to pigs or anteaters, they are actually related to horses and rhinoceroses. They are usually found near water and feed on clay licks found in the rainforest. While bulky and cumbersome in appearance, tapirs are surprisingly nimble. They are excellent swimmers and often dive to the bottom of riverbeds to feed on aquatic plants. They enjoy submerging themselves in the water to cool down and also like to wallow in the mud. Sadly, tapirs' endangered status makes them one of the rarest animals in the Amazon rainforest. Due to the loss of habitat, scientists believe that five of the nine known species of tapirs have already become extinct.
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