Malayan Tapir

ANIMAL:
Malayan Tapir  Tapirus indicus

Type of Animal:
Tapir

Habitat:
Tropical forest, river basins, swamps, alpine scrub, grassy clearings, cultivated areas, rubber plantations, open fields, forest edge, marshes, rivers, valley bottoms

Location(s):
Sumatra, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Burma

Appearance:
Black head and legs w/ large white saddle, long black snout. No mane on neck. Calves look like watermelons w/ legs when young, getting adult coloration after a few months.

Food/Diet:
Grasses, aquatic plants, buds, soft twigs, green shoots, leaves, fruit, shrubs, berries, mosses, small branches

Status in Wild:
Endangered

Conservation:
Breeding in zoos & wildlife parks

Lifestyle:
Solitary, though sometimes found in male-female pairs

Additional Info:

Called:
Male-Bull
Female-Cow
Young-Calf
Group-Pair

Weight:
Male-660-740 lbs
Female-760-900 lbs
Young-200 lbs

Gestation:
13 months

Height:
Male-3.4 ft
Female-4.2 ft

Body Length:
7.5-10 ft

Life Span: 
25-30 years

Tail Length:
1.92-3.96 in

Main predators are tigers, leopards, & crocodiles.

Tapirs fight with teeth, biting at each other.

Very elusive & hard to find in wild due to often nocturnal habits.

Tough skin for protection against predators. Will flee into water or, in the case of females w/ calves, attack w/ canine teeth.

Largest of 5 tapir species & only one not found in C or S America.

Each male territory has 3-4 female territories within.

Due to diet, play important role as seed dispersers. Sometimes called “gardeners of the forest” for this role.

Endangered due to habitat loss, deforestation, hunting for food/sport/hide, agriculture, flooding from hydroelectric projects, cattle grazing, & illegal wildlife trade.

Mark territory by spraying urine on plants.

They’re excellent swimmers, using snout as snorkel.

They can stay underwater for up to 7 minutes.

Communicate w/ high-pitched squeaks.

Besides being used as a snorkel, they can also use snout to obtain food since it’s prehensile.

Fun Fact(s):
Generally docile unless provoked or female protecting calf. Their canine teeth are quite capable of biting an arm off.

Though they might look like pigs, closest relatives are horses & rhinos.

In Thai, known as “P’som-sett” meaning “mixture is finished” based on belief that tapir was created from leftover parts of other animals.

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