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Tarsier

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Tarsier
Tarsier picture.jpg
Scientific Classification
Species
  • Philippine Tarsier (T. syrichta)
  • Horsfield's Tarsier (T. bancanus)
  • Spectral Tarsier (T. tarsier)
  • Dian's Tarsier (T. dentatus)
  • Peleng Tarsier (T. pelengensis)
  • Sangihe Tarsier (T. sangirensis)
  • Pygmy Tarsier (T. pumilus)

The tiny Tarsier is a wonderful creature that is almost smaller than the human hand. Tarsiers range from 3 to 6 inches long, but their tails add another 5 to 11 inches of length. The Tarsier is arboreal, meaning they spend their entire life in trees. Their tiny bodies, big ears, interesting hands and toes, and their huge eyes are what make them look so appealing to the eye.

Anatomy

Tarsiers are small creatures with huge eyes and big ears, they are about the same size as squirrels. These characteristics help the Tarsiers hunt at night and with their neck able to turn 180 degrees it seems specially designed for hunting. Their fur is mostly gray colored, with a naked tail except for a tuft of hair at the tip. All this helps them cling onto trees they live in. [1]

Tarsiers cannot walk on land, but if they happen to find themselves on land they actually hop. At the ends of each of their fingers and toes, they have pads enabling them to cling to trees further. [2]

Reproduction

Tarsiers' mating season is usually from April to May. The pregnancy or gestation of a female Tarsier is up to 180 days, (6 months), with the female's estrus cycle lasting 25-28 days. The female gives birth to one baby per gestation.

When a baby Tarsier is born it is already well developed, its born well furred and with eyes already open. They are able to climb after two days and jump after four days. The mother carries the baby around with her mouth or on her belly because they don't build nests. After about nineteen days young Tarsiers can already move around like adults. It is breast-fed up to about sixty days and ultimately can live from twelve to twenty years old. [3]

Communication

The Tarsier uses many different ways of communication even though it is considered less vocal as an animal. They use calls that are often used as territorial maintenance and male-female spacing. Its loud call is a single piercing note. It sounds similar to a soft bird-like twill and when several Tarsiers come together it sounds like a loud grasshopper-like chirping. There is a distress call made by infants when they are separated from their mothers as well and is actually the call that males make to their mates during the mating season. [4]

Ecology

Tarsiers are arboreal which means they live in and around the base of tree trunks and the roots of plants such as bamboo. They are nocturnal which means they hunt and are most active at night. During the day however they hide in hollows close to the ground to sleep. Most live in groups larger than just one female and one male.

When kept in captivity they all huddle together, or intertwine their tails. Tarsiers' main predators are mostly human hunters and feral cats neglected from nearby communities. Tarsiers are carnivores living on animal meat such as insects like cockroaches or, crickets, sometimes reptiles, birds, and bats. Tarsiers in captivity will eat live shrimp or fish as well.

Tarsiers live on islands like; Smar, Leyte, Bohol, and Mindanao in the Philippines. [5]

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