Is tarsier the smallest monkey?

The Philippine tarsier is an endemic primate found only in the Philippine islands. It is known as the “world’s smallest monkey.” However, taxonomists say it is not a monkey but a prosimian. Its relatives were in Borneo, Sumatra, and Sulawesi.

Fossil evidence shows the Philippine tarsier is among the oldest surviving land animals in the Philippines, dating back 45 million years to the Eocene period. Weighing only about 80-150 grams, it has grayish-brown fur that is lighter on the underside. Its eyes are remarkably large.

The tarsier is the smallest primate. It has a long tail like rats, bat ears and huge globular eyes. Its eyes are the same volume as its brain. The tarsier is one of the least serene animals. Tourists petting it puts the animal in intense fear.

Its slowness makes the tarsier easily approached. Interaction with humans causes the animal stress. In the 1980s the tarsier almost disappeared because of humans. It is a protected species with only 5,000-10,000 left in the wild.

The pygmy tarsier was believed extinct until found last month on Sulawesi. It is neither the smallest primate nor monkey. The tiny Madagascar dwarf lemur gets that honor. The tarsier falls between prosimians and monkeys evolutionarily with qualities of both. One classification gives them their own category.

How venomous is a tarsier?

The tarsier is the only venomous primate. It secretes toxin from an arm gland. When in danger, tarsiers mix this with saliva into a venom. This venom causes allergic reactions in predators. Tarsiers also coat offspring in this mixture. Some scientists think this venom mimics venomous snakes.

Tarsiers are notoriously difficult to keep in captivity. Despite a painful bite, they are bashful and stress easily. The slow loris is another venomous primate. It stores venom in an elbow patch. The loris sucks in the venom then mixes it in its mouth before biting.

Tarsiers are primarily insectivorous. They eat insects, spiders, lizards, and small birds. Tarsiers carry prey in mouth using both hands. We can protect tarsiers by not petting or photographing them with flash. Donating to organizations like the Philippine Tarsier Foundation helps too.

Tarsiers have not been seen eating birds, snakes or other prey. They are the most insectivorous primates, eating only arthropods including spiders. Tarsiers are sensitive to noise. Their primary hunting tool is their acute sense of hearing.

Philippine tarsiers are endangered. Tarsiers may help structure insect communities as predators. As prey, they likely impact predator populations. Tarsiers live in the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. There are 10 tarsier species and four subspecies.

Can a tarsier be a pet?

No. Tarsiers are endangered species. Keeping them as pets has been illegal since 1969 due to their dwindling numbers.

Tarsiers are found in Bohol, Leyte, Samar, and Mindanao. For years they were held captive as pets to attract tourists. Locals offer them for selfies. Tarsiers have big eyes, long legs and fingers.

Their huge eyes weigh more than their brains! They are unique, with fossil history dating back 50 million years.

Tarsiers give birth to one baby after six months. Babies can hold trees within an hour. They are the world’s second smallest primate. Their eyes are so big they can’t rotate them.

Wild creatures should not be pets. If confined, tarsiers bang their heads until they die.

Support organizations protecting tarsiers. Visit zoos with exhibits. Educate others about conservation.

Eastern tarsiers live on Sulawesi, more adaptable to different forest levels. Pygmy tarsiers live very high. Philippine tarsiers prefer lowland forests.

Tarsiers are the only completely carnivorous primates. They mainly eat insects by jumping at them. Also lizards, snakes, spiders.

Tarsiers are small leaping primates. They are intermediate between lemurs and monkeys. Their fur is soft, gray to brown.

With a unique stare, long fingers and ability to catch birds, they are worth protecting. Bohol tarsiers are the world’s smallest.

Conservation efforts can ensure these fascinating creatures thrive. Where found? Southeast Asia. Size? 4-6 inches long.

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Are tarsiers only found in the Philippines?

The Philippine tarsier is the only tarsier species found in the Philippines. It is endemic to the southeastern islands of Bohol, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao. Tarsiers are small nocturnal primates with large eyes, long hind limbs, and long thin fingers. They live only in the rainforests and secondary forests of Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Borneo, Sumatra and Indonesia.

Tarsiers spend their entire lives in trees. They are insectivorous, feeding on insects, spiders, small reptiles and birds. They catch their prey by leaping at it. Their population has significantly declined due to habitat destruction and hunting. It is estimated that only around 1000 Philippine tarsiers remain in the wild.

In 1997, the Philippine Tarsier Foundation established a sanctuary in Corella, Bohol to protect this endangered species. The 167 hectare sanctuary provides a protected habitat for rescued and donated tarsiers. It is an important center for tarsier conservation, rehabilitation and education. However, only captive breeding and forest protection can save the Philippine tarsier from extinction.

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