Published February 23, 2022 | Animal Knowledge, Animals, Conservation, Endangered, Wildlife

Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus), known as Asian Tapir is the largest of the five living species of Tapir. They are the only living species of the old Tapir. – Do you want to know more facts about this mammal?


Distinct Characteristics

Having similar shape to a pig, infact they are not even closely related. Instead, Malayan Tapir are perissodactyls (odd-toed ungulates) that relative with rhinos and horses.

They has distinctive black and white colouration which apparently breaks up the outline of the body in the gloom of the forests in which it lives.

Along with other tapir species, they have more elongated, fleshy and prehensile nose trunk. This nose trunk able to grasp objects such as leaves and “handle” them into the mouth.


When diving, they use their flexible nose as a snorkel, helping them to breathe underwater. They are excellent swimmers and divers, capable of walking along bottoms of rivers.

Shy Mammals

Native to Southeast Asia from the Malay Peninsula to Sumatra, they inhabit tropical moist forests through all ranges.

This mammal is very shy by nature, hiding from human disturbance in interior areas of its forest habitat. Hence, this animal is difficult to come across in the wild.

In Bali Safari Park, meet them closer by safari bus while doing Safari Journey. Watch carefully, they might be swaying their nose towards you, or even hiding from you under the water!

Poor Eyesight

Malayan tapirs are commonly considered nocturnal creatures, resting by day and being active by night. They have a very poor eyesight, causes a very inadequate vision, both on land and in water, where they spend the majority of their time. It is even harder for them to search for food and avoid predators in the dark.

However, they have a highly-developed hearing and senses of smell. They rely on it to go about in their everyday lives.

According to the IUCN Red List, there are less than 400-500 individuals in Sumatra, make them classified as Endangered (EN). The main threat to the Malayan tapir is loss and destruction of habitat through deforestation.

Get involved in preserving this unique mammal by visiting Bali Safari Park!