Acrocodia – Malayan tapir

The largest tapir species in the world and the only one found in Asia

An extraordinary creature inhabiting Southeast Asia’s lush tropical rainforests, particularly within the Indomalayan realm. Their white patch, resembling a saddle, extends from their shoulders to their hindlimbs, sharply contrasting with the rest of their black-haired body. This unique coloration provides them with an effective camouflage in the dappled light of the forest, breaking up their outline and protecting them from predators.

Malayan tapirs are the largest of the five species of tapir and the only one native to Asia. Both males and females share this remarkable coloration, making it difficult to distinguish between the two based solely on appearance. These animals are predominantly crepuscular, meaning they are most active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. This behavior allows them to avoid the midday heat and reduces the risk of encountering predators.

As solitary and strictly herbivorous creatures, Malayan tapirs have a diet consisting of various plants, fruits, and leaves found in their forested habitats. They play a vital role in their ecosystems as seed dispersers, contributing to the health and diversity of their rainforest homes. Malayan tapirs are also remarkable for their physical abilities; they are adept runners, skilled climbers, and excellent swimmers. Their ability to navigate steep terrain and even walk along river bottoms is facilitated by their prehensile nose, which acts as a snorkel, allowing them to breathe while submerged underwater.

Reproduction in Malayan tapirs is a careful and monogamous process, with individuals typically having only one mate during the breeding season. The gestation period is about 13 months and usually results in the birth of a single calf. These calves are born with a dappled coat of spots and stripes, providing them with additional camouflage from predators during their vulnerable early months.