Thursday, October 11, 2007

TARSIERS: The Adorable Little Hunters
of Southeast Asia

Tarsiers are the smallest specie of primates found only in Southeast Asia. They are a cross between a lemur and a monkey. Tarsiers are so small; they can cling onto your thumb and stare at you without winking, for hours! Their signature look is those huge, creepy, terrifying eyes.

There are 7 distinct species of these cute critters -- and they live in the forests of Borneo, Sulawesi, Sumatra, Celebes, Bangka and Paleng Islands in Indonesia; Bohol and Mindanao Island in the Philippines. Only the Philippine Tarsier is endangered. The smallest is the Pygmy Tarsier of Indonesia.

These cute critters measures 3.5 – 6 inches from head to toe but its tail is 5-11 inches long. They weigh about 3 – 6 oz. only! Tarsiers are romantic and live mostly in pairs or small family groups. They jump from tree to tree and feed on insects, small birds, bats, lizards, and snakes! *Ha! Tough guy eh?* Yeah! They snack on venomous snakes too!

Although the Tarsiers can live to an average lifespan of 12 years, they are known to live short in captivity. They commit suicide when caged by banging its head on the metal railings. *Aww, poor thing!* So obviously... you shouldn’t buy or smuggle the poor creature because its gonna die anyway. Don’t try your luck dude.

Tarsiers are nocturnal creatures – they go out to party at night, hunt for victims as food and maybe surf the Internet afterwards until the sun is up. *I think I was referring to myself there*. Anyways…they use their big eyes for night vision and can do a Linda-Blair-180-degree head turn. *Amazing talent!*

45 million years ago, Tarsiers used to roam Europe, North America and Asia. They have the longest continuous fossil record than any other primate. Today, after millions of years – our region is home to this special creatures.

BISEAN advocates the criminalization and imposing harsher punishments to illegal traders of endangered species.

Example: Catching a Japanese or a Mexican buying a Tarsier must have their eyes pulled out, imprisoned for 50 years and shipped back to their own country on a box via DHL. Ha! Take that!


Previously Featured SE Asian Rare Species:

The KOMODO Dragons of Indonesia
BUTAAN: Lost Dragons of the Philippines

* 3rd photo credit: Ken of Uncommon Photographers.
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savante said...

They look terrifying!!

Carlos Javier said...

Hey great post!

I actually got to see Philippine tarsiers up close in Bohol a few years back and they're really quite cute savante! Heheh.

Unfortunately, that very quality of theirs has fueled demand for them as pets in the past.

LOL. And yeah, like Pisanu they're nocturnal - they just freeze and stop moving when in daylight. Well, unless you bug them of course.

Fortunately awareness here as to its plight is now growing. Hopefully this'll lead to its rebound!

conan_cat said...

i think they're inspirations for many scary little creatures... maybe even for the Lord of The Ring that creepy guy, what's his name again? lol

and ouch on the banging head at the metal railings part! whoa these people are really suicidal @__o scary... i want a video of that!! lol

newayz, sry for not coming here for so long!! ^^""

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

@ Conan...dude, have you seen the Return of the Jedi movie? The Ewoks! And the movie Critters! Exactly! Waaah!

@ Savante...I'm terrified of it too. So small but imposing!

@'s good that the Philippines is creating awareness already. I have seen it on YouTube. But they shouldn't bug them so much! LOL

Fable Frog said...

yerrr~ So cute! i love big eyes! very manga/anime!!

Ken said...

Rumors has it that the design of Yoda was based on the tarsier. Thanks for using my tarsier photo (third down), please acknowledge. Unfortunately, the copyright for this one is all rights reserve and has to be used with permission. Let's be professional here.

Preyanka said...

They are really cute. In Vietnam many years ago, my friend bought one at the market and used to keep it as a pet, not knowing of course that they were endangered.

Q The Conqueror said...

Oooh. What do you plan to do to your neighbor with the pet panda?

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

@ Ken, thanks for the notice. With millions of pictures in the world posted on the Internet, there is no way people can track 'em unless the photographer claims it.

Some people have lives y'know. And this is a NON-PROFIT blog. There is no advertisement, AdSense or anything and we don't claim ownership of all the photos.

Nevertheless, I already emailed you how we work on this blog regarding the pictures. There is no name on the picture and whereverwe sourced it certainly didn't have your name on it.

But we acknowledged it under your name, UNLESS other photographers claim it.

Sofia for BiSEAN said...


Pisanu for BISEAN said...

Shut your face Sofia!

riain said...

@ savante I thought they were scary too until I saw them up close last year- they are sooooooo adorable!!!! Note to self- must go back to Bohol... I loved that place.

Michael S said...

I've always been fascinated with these little critters, but i kinda got grossed out when i saw them eating cockroaches in Bohol.

conan: he does look a little like gollum

Xanderj said...

they are actually cute up close...

this post made me remember of the Bohol trip i had last Feb, people were really fascinated with the tarsiers that they started taking pictures of them, the tour guide was telling us to disable flash when taking pictures but most of the people were to busy, poor tarsiers, caught in paparazzi frenzy, there eyes must hurt a lot with all the flashes... 0_O

Anonymous said...

There is an extensive feature reasearch on NATIONAL Geographic Channel on the Tarsiers of the Phils, their habitat and socializing and how Filipinos have breeding programs to increase their numbers.

What was alarming for me in dat feature was how a female tarsier with her young was visited by a dominating male tarsier, and knowing that the baby was not his, d male twisted d head of the poor baby to death - caught on tape. (it shocked me!) Wawa d baby (poor baby). Errr, did i tell u about a certain ape species where there are male to male physical bonding.... hehehe.. also seen it on National Geographic Channel!

vevero said...

our tour guide in Bohol put tarsier on my hand...has a horrifying eyes!

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