The Philippine Tarsier is probably the smallest primate in the world. We are not actually monkeys but we are primates. Our Latin name is 'Tarsius Syrichta'. We have a diet that consists of mainly insects and they do have to be live for us to eat them. Our height is between 90 to 160 mm (3.5 to 6.25 inches). Our weight is between 70 to 165 grams (2.4 to 5.8 ozs). Our big eyes give us very acute night vision which makes us good hunters during the dark. Our big ears can move in the direction of any noise and our heads can swivel through 180 degrees. This all helps us to hunt efficiently.
We are still found in parts of the Philippines with other types of Tarsier found in Indonesia and Borneo for example. However we used to be all over the South East Asian Islands and there are some records of us on mainline coasts. It has now been estimated that there are only between 5,000 and 10,000 Philippine Tarsiers left in the whole world and that number is currently believed to be falling. Efforts have been made to breed us in captivity but although we are very loveable animals we do not live long in captivity. If we become unhappy it is said that we commit suicide by banging our heads on something hard like cage bars.
Tarsiers like me suffer from a number of factors over the years that has contributed to the reduction in our numbers. The destruction of the Rain Forest's has been one of these factors as we all live in this type of terrain. As these have been systematically removed so my extended family numbers have fallen.
Another factor is the hunting of my relatives for pets. The Japanese and Mexicans buy us for as little as 100 pesos (£1.80).
However we generally do not live long in captivity unless they can keep us happy and engaged. President Fidel V. Ramos signed Proclamation 1030 which has made the Philippine Tarsier a protected species. Unfortunately no such protection applies in other countries.
As you can see from my photographs, I have large eyes and also large ears. These both help me to hunt during the night as I usually sleep during the day. My neck is especially adapted so that I can turn my head 300 degrees. While my eyes are large they are fixed into their sockets not like yours. Hence I need to be able to move my neck and head instead instead of my eyes.
I can move my ears so that I can judge the distance and the direction a noise is from me. Have a look at the video clip from the BBC Earth News series on my You Tube page and you will see one of us moving the ears so one judges the distance and direction and then the other one. This allows us to be able to judge not only the distance but the exact direction as well, so when I jump to catch my prey, I can be very accurate.
My teeth are also different. My dental formula is 2:1:3:3 on my upper jaw and 1:1:3:3 on my lower. My upper canines are relatively small.
Dental formula is calculated by the number of teeth of each type and is written as a dental formula for one side of the mouth, or quadrant, with the upper and lower teeth shown on separate rows. The number of teeth in a mouth is twice that listed as there are two sides. In each set, incisors (I) are indicated first, canines (C) second, premolars (P) third, and finally molars (M), giving I:C:P:M. So for example, the formula 220.127.116.11 for upper teeth indicates 2 incisors, 1 canine, 2 premolars, and 3 molars on one side of the upper mouth. This is the formula for humans with the top set the same as the bottom set, unlike the tarsier.
On my feet I have two grooming claws, not one like most animals and suction pads as well as a very long finger. My tail is naked except for a tuft of hair at the very end. This helps me climb and cling on to the trees I live in.
My normal colour is grey.
After consulting with a number of Zoo's in the UK we have been told that you can't actually see one of my relatives in UK as there aren't any Tarsiers in the UK Zoo's.
It appears that the only zoo's that have tarsiers are
Cleveland USA 1 Female
Singapore 1 Male
Singapore 2 Males
Duke Prim, USA 2 Males
(Information supplied by Marwell Preservation Trust Ltd)
Please Note - Tarsiers cannot be bought in the Philippines and should not be kept in captivity
I am usually a solitary animal although when it comes to mating I can be monogamous or sometimes polygynous. (poly = many: gyny = female). We do look after our young.
When a female gives birth it is to a single offspring. These are born with their eyes open and covered by hair. A pregnancy lasts for approximate 180 days or six months.
We have a number of ways of communicating. Young Tarsiers develop a distress call which they use if they get separated from their mothers. We groom each other for parasites and dead skin as a form of social communication.
I eat live insects, like mosquito's, but sometimes find a small lizard very tasty. If the item is large I will catch it with my hands although smaller items I normally catch in my mouth. I eat a lot of mosquito's.
I sleep in the dense tangles of saplings and ferns as well as inside the clumps that can be found at the base of bamboo trees. We usually find a spot about 2 metres above the ground and we usually nest in groups although we have been known to start out on our own.
I am what is known as a vertical clinger and leaper. This is because I cling on to the branches of the trees with my tail and the suction cups on my fingers when leaping from branch to branch. I have elongated tarsus bones and a fused fibula and tibia which all help me to leap from one branch to the other. Doing this we can travel long distances without touching the ground. You can see my skeleton in the scientific pictures.
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If you wish some information about the Tarsiers that is not on this page pleaase do not use the guest book to request it but email us on the following email.
When this site started we, the Philippine Tarsiers, were classified as DD (Data Deficient). This meant that there was not enough data to be able to accurately assess the state of my relative's survivability.
Since then a number of surveys and research projects have and are taking place. We are therefore now listed in the Primate Red List as being Near Threatened.
Near Threatened is described as not quantified as being under threat at the moment but is close to being qualified into one of the three Threatened categories which might happen in the near future. One of the reasons for this is that it is felt that still more research into Philippine Tarsier numbers is still needed.
The three categories of Threatened animals are:
The Red List is operated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This produces assessment lists for all endangered animals and categorises them against their researched numbers etc. It is the main list for this accepted by all bodies throughout the world. Tarsiers appear on the Primate Red List.
To see more information on the Tarsiers of all types go to the link below:
You can find me on a number of islands in the Philippines including Mindanao, Letye, Samar and Bohol. The Foundation that helps my family survive is based on the island of Bohol. This is the best place to see me as I normally live in primary and secondary rainforests and only come out at night. The guides at the Foundation know exactly where to find my relatives and will be able to show you. They are very good as they know all the rules to follow so you do not frighten us. Please follow the instruction they will give you.
I and my friends sometimes fall prey to snakes and the Philippine Eagle. However the greatest demise in my relatives was probably down to two factors.
We are so cute that some people like to take us home as pets. This is particularly so in both Japan and Mexico. My cousins have been hunted for sale to these and other countries for a number of years. We are very sensitive and if we find ourselves alone and without a mate we have to be very well looked after else we suffer from depression. Some of my family who have been very unhappy as pets have actually committed suicide by banging their heads on the bars of their cage.
The other reason is we live in what is the rainforest. Unfortunately like other countries the rainforests of the Philippines are much reduced in size to what they used to be and are shrinking all the time. There is a lot of illegal logging in the Philippines which the government is trying to address. Many people worldwide are trying to stop this but the forests keep shrinking. On the island of Bohol they have planted a man made rainforest which I think is a good start to redressing this situation.
So please support the rainforests and don't buy us for pets. Come to Bohol, to the Foundation and see us where we should be - free and living in the rainforest.
Some of my very old relatives live on the islands of the Indonesian chain. Unfortunately, unlike the Philippines the government of Indonesia has not supported the notion of making the Tarsier and other endangered species a protected animal.
The people of Indonesian still hunt the Tarsiers that live on their islands and eat them for food. They eat the Tarsier roasted on a stick called Tola-tola. They also trade in Tarsiers and some educational and private companies use Tarsiers for experimentation.
"Trade of tarsiers is permitted by CITES - but what for? The animal trade organisation Traffic says significantly, figures show 520 tarsiers were imported into Germany from Indonesia for scientific purposes in 2010." BBC Nature.
CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. How can this be?
Tarsius tumpara lives on Siau Island in Indonesia and is known as the Siau Island Tarsier. It is marked as endangered on the Red List and yet the local Government do nothing to stop either its hunting or its export to Germany and possibly other countries. Germany, a so called enlightened country, allows the import of this animal for research purposes which goes against the need for the protection of the creature.