Friday, March 25, 2011


True Wild Life | Tarsier | The tarsier is a small primate was once found in Asia, Europe, and North America, and possibly Africa. Today the tarsier is only found on several Southeast Asian islands including the Philippines, Sulawesi, Borneo, and Sumatra. Tarsiers are small animals with enormous eyes with each eyeball of the tarsier measuring approximately 16 mm in diameter which is as large as their entire brain. Tarsiers also have very long hind limbs and the feet of the tarsier have extremely elongated tarsus bones, from which the animals get their name.

The head and body of the tarsier range from 10 to 15 cm in length, but the hind limbs are about twice this long (including the feet). The tarsier also has a slender tail from 20 to 25 cm long. The fingers of the tarsier are also elongated, with the third finger being about the same length as the upper arm (in a similar way to the Aye Aye found in Madagascar). Most of the digits have nails, but the second and third toes of the hind feet bare claws instead, which are used for grooming.

Tarsiers have very soft, velvety fur, which is generally brown or beige in colour. The elongated fingers of the tarsier are a dark brown colour and almost twig like in appearance. The tarsier is a nocturnal animal but can be seen to be active during the day. The tarsier primarily feeds on insects but tarsiers will also eat small animals such as rodents, reptiles and birds. Tarsiers catch their prey by jumping on them and tarsiers are very adept at leaping from tree to tree. Tarsiers have even been known to catch birds that are in motion!

The gestation period of the female tarsier takes roughly six months, and the female tarsier will then give birth to a single tarsier baby. The baby tarsiers are born with fur and with their eyes open. The young tarsiers are able to climb within a day of birth and reach sexual maturity when they are about 2 years old. The social habits of the tarsier appear to be dependent on where they live. Tarsiers in some place stick together in groups while tarsiers in other place prefer to both rest and hunt alone. Tarsiers in the wild live until they are about 12 years old, but those tarsiers that are in captivity lead much shorter lives as they die young because they are unhappy. Remarkably, the tarsier is able to turn its head nearly 360 degrees meaning that, coupled with the large eyes of the tarsier, the tarsier able to spot any oncoming predators with ease.

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