The Malayan Tapir is a skilled swim­mer

The Borneo Post - Good English - - Short Story Section -

MALAYAN tapirs can be found in south­east Asia. Apart from Penin­su­lar Malaysia, it can also be found in Su­ma­tra, Thai­land and Myan­mar.

Malayan tapirs in­habit the forests and trop­i­cal rain­forests of these coun­tries, and of­ten will re­main near sources of wa­ter such as streams or rivers.

Malayan Tapirs have black and white sec­tions. You’d think it would make them stand out, but tigers and other preda­tors have a hard time find­ing them.

Malayan Tapirs go out at night, so preda­tors can only see the white parts of them. Preda­tors can’t see their shape. They look re­laxed, but can run away very quickly if in trou­ble. If they see a preda­tor, they quickly hide un­der wa­ter.

Malayan Tapirs are skilled swim­mers that live in forests where there is wa­ter. The forests are dis­ap­pear­ing. Liv­ing in small num­bers in small forests, it’s hard to find food. They’re also have trou­ble on find­ing mates. Their num­bers are be­com­ing smaller. Out of all tapirs, Malayan Tapirs are the clos­est to ex­tinc­tion.

Malayan tapirs feed on grasses, fruits, leaves, aquatic veg­e­ta­tion, and twigs.

At first glance Malayan tapirs may re­sem­ble large pigs. They are, how­ever, more closely re­lated to ze­bras, don­keys, horses and rhi­noc­eros. All of these an­i­mals fall into the or­der Peris­so­dactyla, or odd-toed un­gu­lates (un­gu­lates mean­ing “hav­ing hooves”). Malayan tapirs are con­sid­ered odd-toed un­gu­lates be­cause they have three toes on their hind feet.

Malayan tapirs are large an­i­mals, and can grow to be seven to eight feet in length. They range in height from 3.0 to 4.5 feet. Adult tapirs are cov­ered in short, stiff hairs across their bod­ies. The front half of their bod­ies, as well as their bel­lies and rear legs, are cov­ered in black hairs.

Their sides and backs are cov­ered in white hairs. This coloura­tion helps to con­fuse preda­tors and pro­vides a sort of cam­ou­flage. Hav­ing short hairs rather than long hairs is help­ful to Malayan tapirs so that they will not tangle in the thick veg­e­ta­tion of the rain­for­est when they are at­tempt­ing to es­cape preda­tors. Tapirs’ bod­ies are nar­row which also helps them to move quickly through the dense veg­e­ta­tion.

The heads of Malayan tapirs are shaped a lit­tle like the heads of anteaters, with long snouts pro­trud­ing down their faces. While anteaters use their long snouts to grab ants, tapirs use theirs to pick at un­der­wa­ter veg­e­ta­tion and low-hang­ing fruit. Two ears are set far back on top of their heads. Malayan tapirs have small eyes and poor eye­sight. They rely on hear­ing and smell to find food.

Fe­male Malayan tapirs’ preg­nancy pe­ri­ods will last about 13 - 13.5 months. They will most of­ten give birth to one off­spring. This slow re­pro­duc­tive cy­cle means that Malayan tapirs are more sen­si­tive to habi­tat loss be­cause they can­not adapt as quickly.

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