Tarsier | Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures

Tarsier | Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures

Tarsier Overview


Tarsier is known for their unique appearance. They have large, round eyes that are disproportionately large compared to their small bodies. Their fur is typically soft and comes in various shades of brown and gray. Tarsiers have long, slender fingers and toes with adhesive pads that aid in grasping tree branches.

Origins And Evolution

Tarsiers have an intriguing evolutionary history. They belong to the suborder Haplorhini within the order Primates, making them distant relatives of humans and other simians.

Tarsiers represent an ancient lineage of primates that split from the anthropoid lineage (which includes monkeys and apes) over 60 million years ago. Fossil evidence suggests that early tarsiers had a wider geographical range than their modern counterparts.

Over time, tarsiers evolved unique adaptations, including their distinctive large eyes for night vision and elongated fingers and toes for leaping between trees. These features allowed them to thrive in the dense forests of Southeast Asia, where they are predominantly found today.

Behavior and Lifestyle

Tarsiers are primarily arboreal creatures, spending their lives in the treetops of tropical rainforests. They are known for their exceptional leaping abilities, capable of jumping from tree to tree to catch prey.

Tarsiers are strict carnivores, feeding on insects, small vertebrates, and birds. They are solitary animals, preferring to hunt and live alone or with a single mate and their offspring. Tarsiers are nocturnal, with large, round eyes adapted for excellent night vision, allowing them to hunt in the dark forest canopy.

Tarsier Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Primates
  • Suborder: Haplorhini
  • Infraorder: Tarsiiformes

Tarsier Locations

  • Southeast Asia
  • Borneo
  • Sumatra
  • Philippines
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia
  • Brunei
  • Thailand
  • Singapore
  • Western parts of the Philippines

Fast Facts

  • Name: Tarsier
  • Scientific Name: Tarsiidae family
  • Habitat: Forest canopies
  • Diet: Insects, small vertebrates
  • Physical Features: Large eyes
  • Nocturnal: Night hunter
  • Solitary: Often solitary
  • Unique Order: Primates order
  • Lifespan: 12-20 years
  • Conservation Status: Varies
  • Fun Facts: Excellent leaper

Physical Characteristics

  • Color: Gray-brown
  • Skin Type: Fur-covered
  • Top Speed: Slow climber
  • Lifespan: 12-20 years
  • Weight: Lightweight primate
  • Length: Small-bodied
  • Age of Sexual Maturity: 1 year
  • Age of Weaning: 2 months

Tarsier FAQs

Where do tarsiers live?

Tarsiers are found in Southeast Asia, including countries like Borneo, Sumatra, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

What do tarsiers eat?

Tarsiers are carnivorous and primarily feed on insects, small vertebrates, and birds. They are skilled hunters.

Are tarsiers social animals?

No, tarsiers are solitary creatures and are generally not social. They live alone or with a mate and their offspring.

Why do tarsiers have large eyes?

Tarsiers have large eyes adapted for night vision because they are strictly nocturnal hunters, relying on low light conditions to locate prey.

Can tarsiers rotate their heads like owls?

Yes, tarsiers can rotate their heads almost 180 degrees, which helps them locate prey and predators in the dense forest canopy.

How far can tarsiers jump?

Tarsiers are excellent jumpers and can leap distances of up to 40 times their body length to catch prey or move between trees.

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