How much do you know about tarsiers? Read to find out even more in our blog today at Light Future Art!
1. The three species of tarsiers can be found in the Philippines (Philippine tarsiers), Sulawesi (Eastern tarsiers), and Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and Borneo (Western tarsiers). Their preferred habitat is rainforests and lowland tropical woodland.
2. Tarsiers live in trees but stay close to the ground. When they sleep during the day, tarsiers typically choose a location between three and six feet off the rainforest floor. The branches here are close to their food and is shady, which is good for protecting their sensitive eyes from the sun as they sleep.
3. Tarsiers get their name from their unusually long ankle bones, called tarsals. Their long ankles let them jump distances of more than 40 times their own length.
4. Tarsiers can turn their head 180 degrees in any direction, like an owl. This lets them see behind themselves without having to move their bodies.
5. Out of any mammal, tarsiers have the largest eye to body size ratio. Their eyes are as large as their brains.
6. Tarsiers sing in pairs. At sunrise, pairs of tarsiers sing duets, probably to tell other tarsiers where they are, who they are, and to settle any disputes they might have with other tarsiers in the area.
7. Baby tarsiers are born with their fur already grown and with open eyes after a gestation period of about six months. At just one day old, they already can climb. The baby relies on their mother’s milk for two months, at which point they can eat solid food.
8. Tarsiers are the only primates which are entirely carnivorous. Their diets usually include lizards frogs, snakes, bats, and birds. They are ambush predators, meaning that they wait for their prey to approach close by and then strike.
9. In 2008, scientists were able to confirm that the pygmy tarsiers are still extant. Prior to this discovery, they hadn’t been observed since the 1930s. Pygmy tarsiers measure three to four inches long and are quieter than their larger counterparts. They may sing at a frequency which humans can’t detect. They also tend to live at higher elevations, which may be why they had been unobserved for so long.
10. Tarsiers were once a worldwide species. 55 million years ago, fossils place them as far away as North America and Europe. The fossil record also shows that they once used to be even smaller than they are today. They are the oldest surviving primate group in the world.
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