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  • Tapir malayo en Zoo Aquarium de Madrid. Zoológico en Madrid.

Common name:

Malayan tapir

Scientific name:

Tapirus indicus


250-320 kg


90-100 cm
Rivers, swamps, marshes and lakes


En peligro

Who is it?

It looks like a pig and has similar legs to those of a rhinoceros, as well as a short, extensible trunk.

It is larger than its American cousin, and two-toned: its body is black, though the middle of its trunk it white, and the edges of its ears are also white. This colouring offers it excellent protection.

Though it used to be distributed around Borneo and part of Indochina, it is currently found above all in the jungle of Sumatra and the Malacca Peninsula, towards the southeast of Myanmar.

The Malayan tapir is a swamp-dwelling animal, in fact it spends a long time in the water, both to cool down and to protect itself from predators such as the tiger. It has a sharp sense of hearing and smell, which it very useful for finding food, detect dangers and for locating other tapirs. In fact, its hearing and sense of smell make up for its poor eyesight.

What are its habits?

It may be considered crepuscular, though it is not a nocturnal species. Having said that, it is discrete, solitary and inoffensive, with simple habits.

It usually uses the same paths, from the forest to the water, and prefers swampy thickets.

A herbivore, it feeds on leaves, shoots, twigs and fruit.

Breeding takes place between April and June. Gestation lasts about 400 days; the young are weaned between six and eight months later. The females, which mature sexually at the age of three years, give birth to one piglet every two years.

Did you know…

The Malayan tapir is known as a “living fossil”, because it has hardly changed in millions of years.

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