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We Heart Tapirs

Baby spots & stripes

Watermelon coloring
to keep baby camouflaged.
Malayan tapirs are known for their characteristic black and white coloring, but when they are first born, baby tapirs have a distinctive pattern of spots and stripes, kind of like a black and white watermelon!
Meet our tapirs
From dappled spots
to black-and-white.
The pattern helps them blend in to the dappled sunlight on the South East Asian forest floor, keeping them safe and camouflaged while mom is away. As they grow into adulthood, they develop their distinctive white saddle patch coloring.

Fun facts

about our tapirs.
  • Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium welcomed our first ever tapir calf in 2019, a boy named Kazu, Japanese for “first”.
  • You can spot him in the Asian Forest Sanctuary with his full adult coloring!
  • Soon he’ll be old enough to start his own family, finding a mate by sending a high pitched whistle out to potential partners.

Hear Kazu’s dad Baku whistling to mom Yuna in this video from before he was born!