Mammals

Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus)

tapir front image

One of Thailand's most exotic looking residents is the endangered Malayan Tapir, Tapirus indicus. It is also known as the Asian Tapir as it is the only species of tapir native to Asia. Despite their extended prosboscis resembling a small trunk they are in fact most closely related to horses and rhinoceroses.

They are a very shy and cryptic animal and little is known about their full status in Thailand. A gentle herbivore that can be found in peninsula and western Thailand only, with Huai Kha Kaeng Wildlife Sanctuary and isolated sections of Mae Wong National Park thought to be the northern most limit of their Thailand range [source: IUCN]. They have protected status in Thailand and are very rarely physically seen. Although some wildlife photographers have photographed them through the lens such as Bruce Kekule


They eat fruits, leaves, roots and tubers, wood, bark, and bryophytes although have 3 known predators themselves: tigers; leopards; and of course, man. The biggest known threat to their continued survival in Thailand is real and potential habitat loss from human expansion and deforestation.

A camera trap video of Malayan Tapirs in Kaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand.

As you can see in the video one of the tapir is significantly larger than the other, this is a female. Malayan tapirs have large, stocky bodies with a prominent, prehensile proboscis formed by an extended nose and upper lip. Individuals range from 250 to 540 kg, with a length of 1.8 to 2.5 m and a height of 0.9 to 1.1 m. Females are larger than males by up to 100 kg.

Tapirs are known to be solitary so this may be a courtship pairing, but then again it may not, as no specific courtship behaviour is evident in the footage. One hopes.

The sneezing is a very interesting observation, of course all mammals sneeze, but what are the chances of catching a wild animal doing it? 

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