On the islands of Southeast Asia, you can meet many different exotic animals. Among them are tarsiers, which have a very interesting and unusual appearance. These animals are partly similar to monkeys, partly to lemurs. After much debate, scientists came to the decision to attribute them to the order of primates.
Tarsiers have the largest eyes in relation to their body size. While their body will average 3.9 to 5.9 inches (10 to 15 cm) in length, their eyes will be about 0.6 inches (1.6 cm) in diameter and larger than their brains. For tarsiers, the eyes are of great importance, as they are nocturnal animals.
Tarsiers rotate their heads like an owl
Having such large eyes, tarsiers cannot rotate their eyes like humans – this function is performed by the neck. Tarsiers can turn their necks 180 degrees like owls.
Tarsiers are the only primate species with a completely carnivorous diet, they do not eat plant foods at all. Instead, they may feed on insects, lizards, snakes, frogs, birds, and carrion.
Their hind legs are very long, plus a bald tail that adds an extra 7.8-9.8 inches (19.8-24.8 cm). Their fingers are long to help them hold on to tree branches. All of the features mentioned will allow tarsiers to climb and jump vertically. They can jump 40 times their height, reaching 16 feet (4.8 m) in a single jump.
Tarsiers communicate with each other by making different vocal sounds, similar to chants, and when the male and female converge, they “sing a duet”, especially in the early morning.
Reproduction and lifespan of tarsiers
Pregnancy of females lasts about six months and only one cub is born at a time. The cub is large and well developed at birth, their weight is usually equal to 20% of the mother’s weight. After 24 hours, the newborn tarsier is already able to climb trees. Their lifespan is about 10 years in the wild and up to 17 years in captivity.
Tarsiers live in families of 2 to 6 individuals. They hunt in a group, always maintaining eye contact between their members, and although they live in trees, they descend to low altitudes for prey. Their favorite prey are crickets, cockroaches and beetles, dragonflies, termites or moths.
40 million years old
Tarsiers are one of the oldest primates on the planet, dating back about 40 million years. Fossils show that they would have lived in different parts of the world, including Europe and North America. Today they can only be found in parts of Asia.