Tapirs are native to South East Asia, and the Malayan Tapir is (in 2008 anyway) unique to Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia and is an endangered species – yet another species that, at the end of the day, will benefit from us humans being more environmentally conscious.
Bringing consciousness of our impact on the environment to more people is the ultimate mission of the Tiny Tapir shop.
Malaysian Tapirs live in the rain forest and are generally solitary animals, except when mating, then they can be found in pairs. They mainly eat grass, shrubs and roots.
Despite their large size (females can grow to up to 800 pounds and be 4 ft tall and 8 ft long), Tapirs are shy in nature, except when they’re startled their reaction is definitely flight and not fight. They will crash through the rainforest (although they’re not super fast runners) and bomb into water to hide. That’s why Tapirs can often be found near rivers.
Tapirs also, like hippos, love to submerge themselves in water with only their snouts sticking out, walking along the river floor.
Tapirs have poor eyesight, relying more on their superior sense of hearing. Their long snouts are used to forage for food in rainforest undergrowth.
Why Tapirs are endangered
As more and more of their habitat (our Malaysian rainforests) are depleted, Tapirs have less and less places to roam, forage and hide. They’re easy prey due to their heft and short legs (a combination that does not lend itself towards speed!) and unlike most large animals like the rhinocerous or hippo, do not have special defences.
Furthermore, they are very slow breeders, usually with only one baby a year. Tapirs have been born in captivity, but it’s not easy to get them to breed in zoos etc.
A last word …
Lastly of course, baby tapirs are just the cutest thing evah…