14 Facts About The Tarsier: Suicidal Monkey of Philippines!
I absolutely love learning about weird/quirky animals when I’m on the road. So the suicidal tarsier; the tiny, nocturnal primate of Bohol Island in The Philippines certainly caught my attention when I first read about it.
I’d put it up there with the common spotted cuscus of Papua New Guinea, in terms of loveable and odd animals that I did not know existed until I started travelling.
My primate bucket list goal is looking strong; I’ve seen Proboscis Monkeys and Orangutans in the wild in Borneo, been up close and personal with a silverback gorilla in Uganda, braved The Monkey Buffet Festival in Thailand and although the bonobos of the DRC still evade me, I was lucky enough to meet the tarsier, making my way to Bohol after swimming with whale sharks in Oslob.
Facts About The Philippine Tarsier
- Originally found in North America, Europe and Asia the Tarsier is now only found in Southeast Asia – mainly Bohol, an island in the Philippines.
- The Tarsier is on the verge of extinction. The main culprits being humans (engage sarcastic shocked tone of disbelief) clearing land for animal agriculture and illegal logging. The second offender being the house cat, living up to their reputation of being cute genocidal maniacs, hellbent on world domination.
- The Tarsier is named after its extremely long bone…it’s ankle bone, called the ‘tarsus.’
- Both of the Tarsier’s huge eyes on their on weighs more than its brain.
- The Tarsier’s eyes can not rotate within their eye socket, but their neck can rotate 360 degrees.
- It has the largest eyes in relation to its body out of any living mammal.
- After one day of being born, a Tarsier can climb a tree. What did your precious little nappy-shitting kid do, eh?
- The Tarsier is the smallest primate in the world. However, its ancestral tree is a little complicated – the Tarsier is related to monkeys, gorillas, lemurs and even humans – but it occupies a small evolutionary branch between the strepsirrhine prosimians, and the haplorrhine simians.
- Tarsiers usually fall prey to large birds, mainly the owl.
- Tarsiers are nocturnal, probably because they spend the whole night shitting themselves about getting eaten by owls.
- Tarsiers can commit suicide. They can get very nervous, particularly in captivity. The sanctuary that I went to made sure people didn’t get close and left the flash off the camera.
- Tarsiers are the only entirely carnivorous primates, eating insects, rodents, reptiles and small birds.
- When a male Tarsier bangs a female Tarsier he leaves a ‘mating plug’ inside her vagina, a gelatinous secretion which hardens when inside, which is a way of saying to all the other Tarsier lads; “get your filthy hands off, I saw her first!”
- Tarsiers freak out some indigenous tribes of the Philippines. They look at the Tarsier as a sign of bad luck and if they accidentally harm or scare one – they apologise to the spirits of the forest, as they believe that they will encounter bad health.