The Malayan Tapir is a skilled swimmer
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.