Very little is known about the natural ecology of Baird's tapir; these shy creatures were thought to be solitary but are now believed to live in pairs or small family groups (6). When disturbed, they tend to seek cover underwater and are agile in both the forest's hilly terrain and within streams and rivers (2). Tracks throughout the home range are repeatedly used and are marked regularly (2); individuals communicate within the dense jungle via scent, but also with shrill whistling calls (4). There is no distinct breeding season and births may occur throughout the year (4), a female will generally give birth to a single young after a gestation period of 13 months (5). Young tapirs stay with their mother for up to two years (5).
Tapirs tend to forage in forest clearings where there are many colonizing plants (5). Browsing often occurs at night (5), and the diet consists of a variety of foliage together with seeds and fruit (4).