Western Tarsier

Western Tarsier

Mammalia

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: western tarsier
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Primates
FAMILY: Tarsiidae
GENUS SPECIES: Tarsius bancanus

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION: Tarsier coloration varies between buff—gray and beige.  They have long hind legs and long, skinny fingers and toes to help them climb and leap.  As nocturnal animals, their huge eyes and big ears help them see and hear in the dark.
SIZE: Head and body length:  11.5 to 14.5 cm (4.5—5.7 in.)
Tail length:  20 to 23.5 cm (7.9—9.2 in.)
WEIGHT: 105 to 135 g (3.7—4.8 oz.)
DIET: Insectivorous and carnivorous, consuming a variety of insects, lizards, and other small vertebrates
GESTATION: 6 months 
SEXUAL MATURITY: 1 year 
LIFE SPAN: Around 8 years
RANGE: Borneo, Bangka, and southern Sumatra
HABITAT: Rainforest
POPULATION: GLOBAL no data
STATUS: Currently not listed
   
   

FUN FACTS

1. The large forward—facing eyes allow tarsiers to accurately assess distances for safe leaping.  Tarsiers can leap distances up to 5.4 m (18 ft.)
2. The large eyes of the tarsier are not able to move; rather, like owls, they can turn their heads nearly 180 degrees in each direction to focus on objects.
3. Tarsiers get their name from their long tarsal (ankle) bones, which help propel them while leaping.
4. The flat, fleshy pads at the end of tarsiers’ fingers and toes allow them to climb smooth vertical surfaces. 
5. Like other primates, tarsiers are exclusively predators. 
6. Tarsiers live in pairs. 

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

Unlike the Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta), which is endangered, the Western tarsier is fairly stable throughout most of its range.  One of the greatest threats to tarsiers is habitat loss due to the logging industry.  Tarsier populations are reduced by thousands every year, leading to their legal protection in Malaysia and Indonesia.  Another threat to their survival is collection for the pet trade. These small primates require appropriate live food sources and are susceptible to several pet ailments such as tapeworms.

Tarsiers help regulate insect and small vertebrate populations since they can eat nearly 10% of their own weight each day, 10 to 14 g (0.35 to 0.5 oz.).  They are also a food source for a variety of large Indonesian predators.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Macdonald, David , ed. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxfordshire: Andromeda Oxford Ltd, 2001.