Meet the two-tone tapirs with a snorkel snout and some nifty hiding skills!

Malayan tapirs are different from their tapir relatives as they have a very unique black and white coat and also because they’re the largest of the tapir species. The contrasting black and white coat of these tapirs looks like it would stand out in a forest, but it actually works as a camouflage breaking up the outline of the animal in shaded areas and at night. They’re mostly nocturnal (but not exclusively), so this disguise comes in handy when they’re out and about at night!

The calves are born with a reddish-brown coat covered in white stripes and spots to provide extra camouflage while they are young. The coat changes after a few months when the calves are less vulnerable.

Their long, trunk-like noses are prehensile which means they can use them to grab leaves off trees and as a snorkel when they are in the water! This is known as a proboscis and is actually an extension of their nose and upper lip.

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Interesting facts

IUCN Status: Endangered

Where they live: Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Burma and Sumatra

Habitat: Forests and wetland areas.

Size: 1.8-2.5m length

Weight: 250-540kg

Height: 0.9-1.1m shoulder height

Threats: Habitat destruction for human settlement, agriculture, logging and damming for hydroelectric development. Hunting for food and sport. Low reproductive rate.

Scientific Name: Tapirus indicus


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