Five Interesting Malaysian Wildlife To Check Out

TYM-Article-Malay-Month3-Pic1The Borneo orangutan is one of the two recognized species of the great ape orangutan, the other being the Sumatran orangutan. Did you know that the word orangutan is derived from the Malay and Indonesian words ‘orang’ (person) hutan (forest), meaning ‘person of the forest’. The Bornean orangutan differs in appearance from the Sumatran orangutan, with a broader face and shorter beard and also slightly darker in color. Orangutans are the largest arboreal animals in the world, which means they spend most of their time in the trees.



Malaysian Water Monitor Lizard
TYM-Article-Malay-Month3-Pic2Did you know that the monitor lizard is basically a living dinosaur? They’ve been around in Southeast Asia and Australasia since the Ice Age some 1.6 million years ago. Known as biawak in Malay, the monitor lizard is a highly intelligent carnivorous lizard that moves at surprisingly fast speeds when hunting prey. It’s an intelligent creature which has been proven to be able to count. The water monitor, as the name implies, spends a great deal of time underwater either in freshwater or sea water where it can catch, crabs, squid and fish.



Malayan Pit Viper
TYM-Article-Malay-Month3-Pic3If you’re in the habit of walking around barefoot outdoors, take heed. The Malayan pit viper is a venomous, ill-tempered snake responsible for 700 snake bites in Malaysia each year, and most victims usually incur the viper’s wrath by stepping on it – accidentally. It can grow as 91 centimeters, and prefers coastal forests, bamboo thickets, unused and overgrown farmland, orchards, plantations, as well as forests around plantations. With the aid of modern medicine its bite is rarely fatal, but still – you’ve been warned.



TYM-Article-Malay-Month3-Pic4Did you know there are bisons in Malaysia? Known as seladang, or gaur or wild ox, it is the second largest land mammal found in Malaysia after the elephant, and like most wild cattle is feared by most animals, even tigers. That’s no surprise since a bull can weigh up to 1,000 kilograms, and tends to charge horns first when angry or threatened.



Malayan Sun Bear
TYM-Article-Malay-Month3-Pic5The Malayan sun bear is the smallest bear species in the world. Its name is derived from the golden colored crescent shaped patch of fur on its chest. The Malayan sun bear is also known as the honey bear, which refers to its appetite for honeycombs and honey. The bears have an extremely long narrow tongue which they use to extract honey from hives and insects from deep crevices in trees. Speaking of trees, did you know you can determine a sun bear’s age by the number of rings in its teeth, just like counting tree rings? That is, of course, if you dare to get close enough to count.



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Authors: Laurence McGonnell, Corazon Castle

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