These creatures have two large eyes on their tiny bodies and are found in the lowland jungles of Southeast Asia. The Horsfield’s Tarsier is a tiny, underappreciated animal. The tarsier’s eyes are the largest in relation to its physical size in the world of mammals.
The volume of each eye is comparable to that of the animal’s brain. A furry little creature with thin limbs, the primate is a primate. However, their speed and acute senses make up for their lack of size.
The tarsier’s thin ear membranes are used to forage and feed at night. Tarsier abilities to leap and climb are also impressive.
What Is A Tarsier?
On the primate family tree, there is a lot of mystery and debate about where to place tarsiers. Prosimians, as they were originally classified, or apes, are the questions.
Lorises and bush babys have several features in common with prosimian lemurs, yet they are fully ape-like. They include grooming claws and a nocturnal lifestyle, despite their resemblance to prosimian lemurs.
Tarsiers don’t have the reflective layer in the eye known as the tapetum lucidum, which makes many animals eyes shine in the dark, and they lack a rhinarium, which is the exposed, wet surface around their nostrils found in most mammals.
These beings are more akin to apes in terms of skull structure and teeth. As a result, they have been separated from these two monkey groups in recent years, and are now considered monkeys rather than primates.
The tarsier, on the other hand, has existed for millions of years and shows no evolutionary link to any of the other primates. In reality, the tarsier emerged from the Miocene era without any discernible link to other species, as if it had sprung out of nowhere.
The tarsier’s oldest fossil remains are a 50 million year old tarsier, and they haven’t evolved much since then other than growing slightly smaller.
Because science can’t even begin to offer an explanation not just of who they are related to, but where they came from in the first place, many have pointed to the tarsier as an example of creationism.
20 Terrific Facts About Tarsiers
Tarsiers, which are about the size of a tennis ball and live at night, are little-known nocturnal primates.
Tarsiers are now only found on the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia islands, after becoming more common. Tarsiers are a sister group of monkeys and apes that includes 10 different species and four subspecies. All tarsier species are threatened by extinction, to a certain extent.
They are worth a second look because of their stare, superlong fingers, velvety soft fur, and ability to pounce on insects or even birds. The tarsier is a fantastic animal because of a few things.
They were once found all around the world
Fossils have been discovered in Asia, Europe, and North America, indicating that tarsiers were once more common. The islands of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, Sulawesi, Borneo, and Sumatra, are home to all existing species.
They Are Entirely Carnivorous
The only completely carnivorous primate is Tarsiers. These animals all have one thing in common: they do not eat plant matter of any type, even if their diets differ.
Insects, lizards and snakes, frogs, birds, and even bats are among the animals they consume. Ambush predators, they lurk quietly for prey to come near before snatching birds and bats straight from the air.
Tarsiers were said to eat charcoal, according to old manuscripts based on local folklore. The tarsiers dig through the charcoal to reach the bugs, which is not correct.
They haveenormous eyes
In comparison to their body size, tarsiers have the greatest eyes of any mammal. Each eye is roughly 16 mm in diameter and weighs approximately as much as the animal’s brain.
They Have Elongated Appendages
The extraordinarily elongated tarsus bones in the feet of tarsiers are what give them their name. The hind legs and feet of the tarsier are twice as long as their head and body, which is 4 to 6 inches in length.
Their tail is also long, adding another 8 or 9 inches to their height. Their third finger is as long as their entire upper arm, and their fingers are extra long to help them grasp tree branches. Their fingers’ tips may expand into disk-like adhesive pads, making it easier for them to grip.
Tarsiers can climb and jump thanks to their unique anatomy of vertical clingers and climbers. In a single leap, they may jump 40 times their body length.
They can turn their heads like they’re in The Exorcist
Thanks to specially designed vertebrae, sasis are capable of rotating their heads in both directions.
They Live Close to the Ground
Tarsiers are seldom taller than 6.5 feet from the ground. These creatures prefer to live amid thick, gloomy flora. For sleeping, they require a lot of tree cover.
While clinging to a vertical tree limb or bamboo, they sleep during the day. The rainforest’s dense vegetation and proximity to the ground provide greater access to prey, including insects.
It also protects them from the sun’s harmful rays. Old growth and secondary woods, as well as low scrubby vegetation, are perfect places to look for them.
Tarsiers are built for leaping
The extremely elongated tarsus bones of the feet, from which the animals get their name, make up for the fact that tarsiers’ hind limbs are about twice as long as their bodies.
In comparison to their body size, their hind limbs are comparatively longer. Tarsiers have muscular legs in addition to their long tarsals.
Tarsiers can jump up to 5 meters and 40 times their body length thanks to these specializations. Tarsiers move mostly by leaping, although they may also climb, walk, and hop. They spend the majority of their time clinging to vertical tree limbs and moving through their habitat.
There Are Three Types of Tarsiers
Eastern, Western, and Philippine tarsiers are the three different types. Western Tarsiers have tails with tufts at the ends and live in Brunei, Borneo, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Eastern tarsiers live on Sulawesi and the nearby islands, while Philippine tarsiers are only found on the Philippines.
Lowland species are the most common in the Philippines and Western tarsiers. Except for the pygmy species, which is solely found above 1,600 feet, eastern tarsiers can be found in a variety of habitats and elevations. When it wasn’t seen between 1921 and 2008, the pygmy kind was presumed to be extinct.
Their fingers are elongated and sticky
The longest third finger of tarsiers is about the same length as their upper arm, and they have long, thin fingers. Their fingers have sticky pads on the tips that aid them to stick to surfaces.
Grooming (sometimes known as “toilet claws”) are long, curving claws on the second and third fingers.
They Are the Oldest Surviving Primate Group
Tarsiers are among the planet’s earliest primates, having lived 55 million years and colonized North America and Europe in the past, according to fossil evidence.
Tarsiers were thought to be a tiny animal, weighing in at approximately an ounce. Several of these fossils had active eyes, suggesting that they were active during the day.
They do have the ability to leap between tree limbs, as modern tarsiers do. They also have long hindlimbs and grasping feet.
Tarsier brains differ from those of other primates
The lateral geniculate nucleus, which receives visual information, has a unique connection with their eyes and the lateral geniculate nucleus.
Tarsiers are distinguished from lemurs, lorises, and monkeys by their uniqueness in terms of early primate evolution.
They Don’t Do Well in Captivity
Captive breeding programs are nearly impossible due to tarsiers’ unique habitat and prey requirements, and just around 50% of tarsiers that are placed in captivity survive.
Tarsiers with suicidal inclinations develop when they are stressed or kept in small cages. Light, noise, people in their habitat, and being touched are all particular stressors.
They’ll hit the cage’s wooden walls, the floor, and even their frail skulls. Their only hope for survival is habitat conservation. As compared to 24 years in the wild, captive life expectancy is two to 12 years.
Some tarsiers live in families, while others are loners
Tarsier species have distinct social behaviors. The sociability of eastern tarsiers is shown by their tendency to live in tiny family groups, whereas Western tarsiers appear more solitary.
They Perform Duets
Tarsier pairs are known to engage in complicated duet calls, which typically take place just before daybreak as the tarsiers prepare to sleep. According to scientists, the tarsier couple is teaching other tarsiers about their pair-bond, which may help them reproduce.
Territorial conflicts may also be mediated by duets. The co-singing of these duets piqued researchers’ curiosity, as does the evolution of human language.
Tarsiers may make ultrasonic noises to notify others of approaching humans or predators such as snakes and owls, which they may use to scare others.
Tarsiers are the only entirely carnivorous primate
Insects are the primary food of tarsiers, although they also eat birds, snakes, and lizards. Because of their tiny size, they have powerful jaws and teeth, as well as a large mouth to swallow bigger foods.
Pygmy Tarsiers Were Believed Extinct
The first colony of live pygmy tarsiers,8 measuring only 3 to 4 inches long, including the tail, were discovered by scientists in 2008.
They have huge, curled coats and can wiggle their ears. Scientists believe that Pygmy tarsiers may make high-pitched sounds that are undetectable to human ears, but they aren’t as vocal as lowland tarsiers.
Tarsier babies are the largest relative to the size of the mother of any mammal
A single tarsier baby, weighing 25-30% of the mother’s body weight, is born to female tarsiers. Young tarsiers open their eyes and acquire fur within a day of birth, allowing them to climb trees. Mothers cradle their infants in their arms or on their backs.
They Are at Risk of Extinction
Because of rapidly dwindling habitats and fragmentation, all tarsier species are at risk of extinction. The thick vegetation that tarsiers need to keep their numbers healthy has been replaced by oil palm, coconut, and coffee plantations.
These species face additional challenges due to the vulnerability of these animals to feral cat and dog predation, as well as human poaching for food and short-lived pets.
Tarsiers are very vocal
Spectral tarsiers produce 15 different groups of vocalizations (including alarm calls, food calls, baby whistles, and play whistles), while Western tarsiers produce just four types of vocalizations.
All tarsiers use scent marking as a form of communication, in addition to vocalizing. Mated pairs perform vocal duets at dusk and dawn in several tarsier species.
They smell glands on trees, bushes, and each other to defend territories and confirm group membership. They have scent glands in their face, stomach, and genital areas.
Tarsier Facts On Reproduction
Females of different tarsier species come into heat monthly, although some species have different breeding habits. Many of these animals appear to be lifelong monogamists, mating for life and living in modest groups with a few offspring.
Some species appear to be more solitary, eating and sleeping alone for the most part of the day before coming together at some point.
The female is pregnant for almost six months and gives birth to a single kid about one-third her size. A 120-pound woman having a 40-pound kid is roughly comparable! The baby comes out with eyes open and furred, but it takes a few days to recover mobility.
Because they are too big to carry around and hunt a few feet away, tarsier mothers “park” their infants on tree limbs. Males play a secondary role in some species, with males maintaining closeness while there’s an kid around and providing defense against predators.
Tarsiers have been seen leaping towards and striking at predators, such as snakes, in coordinated attacks that “mob” them. During these performances, a guy’s masculinity may make him more appealing to females.
Tarsier babies wean at a young age and are hunting for themselves by 4 to 6 weeks. Before leaving, Young might spend two years or more with the family unit. Some kinds pair up in monogamous couples, while others form haremlike groups with one male and a few females.
Tarsier Facts On Reproduction
Tarsier females come into estrus once a month, while other tarsier species have different breeding patterns. Several of these creatures seem to be monogamous, mating and cohabiting in small groups with a few offspring.
Some species appear to be more solitary, with some getting together throughout the day for food and drink but otherwise remaining alone.
A single child, about 1/3 the size of the mother, is born after she has been pregnant for roughly 6 months. A 120-pound woman giving birth to a 40-pound kid has the same chance of surviving as a 120-pound woman. The infant is born with eyes open and hair, but mobility takes a few days.
Because their offspring are too heavy to carry around, tarsier moms “park” them on a tree limb and go hunting for a few feet. Males play a secondary role in some species, staying closer to the baby and providing protective measures from predators while there is an infant around.
Tarsiers have been seen to gather in groups of up to 10 individuals and jump towards and attack snakes, according to researchers. Males’ performance during these events might make them more appealing to females.
Tarsier infants wean themselves at a young age, and by 4 to 6 weeks they are on their own. Before departing, Young might remain with the family for two or more years. Monogamous couples exist in several species, as well as groups with a lone male and a few females.