Philippine Tarsier

The Philippine Tarsier is an animal that not very many outside of the Philippines are familiar with. This creature is thought to be more than 45 million years old and was named for the tarsus bone, located in the ankle. The Philippine Tarsier is an endangered species and there is a foundation that has just one mission, and that is to protect this creature any way they can.

The Habitat of the Philippine Tarsier

a philippine tarsier in bohol Philippine Tarsier
A Philippine tarsier in Bohol
The Philippine Tarsier is usually found in the secondary and primary forests in and around the Philippines in elevations ranging from sea level to 700 meters. In addition, the Tarsier can be found in the tropical rain forest where dense vegetation as well as trees are found. The Philippine Tarsier is usually found in these areas because the trees and tall grasses as well as brush and bamboo shoots provide it with the coverage that it needs to be protected from other animals that may hunt it. These animals like to perch in the trees and generally they seek habitats that will allow them to be about 2 meters above the ground, again this is for protection.

The Philippine Tarsier generally calls about one to two hectares of land its home. Some studies have shown that the male usually lives on 6.45 hectares and the female on 2.45 hectares for a total population of 14 male and 41 females per 100 hectares. The animals are of the solitary variety, but they are known to come in contact with one another briefly during the night when they are actively hunting. These primates are found in Bahol, Samar, Leyte, Mindanao, as well as on the islands of Marippi, Siargoa, Basilan, and Dinagat.

The Diet of the Philippine Tarsier
The Philippine Tarsier is a carnivore and eats mostly live insects but will also feed on spiders, crustaceans, lizards, and birds when live insects are not readily available. It has been observed that the Tarsier favors crickets and grasshoppers when they have a choice. When the Philippine Tarsier has captured its prey it will bring the food to its mouth with both of its small hands. It has been said that the Philippine Tarsier is able to easily catch its prey because it is small, agile, able to maneuver amazingly through the trees, and when it communicates it sounds very much like a locust so other insects do not know that they are being hunted until it is too late.

philippine tarsier Philippine Tarsier
A very innocent looking Philippine Tarsier

Reproduction of the Philippine Tarsier
While these are shy, solitary creatures they do come together for reproductive purposes. The mating season begins in April and lasts usually until the end of May. The female is fertile for 25-28 days and after intercourse the female will become pregnant and will carry the fetus for about six months. This species gives birth to just one live young per pregnancy and the infants are born with their eyes open and a full body of hair. The mother cares for the young and carries it in her mouth. After just one month outside of the womb the young will start leaping from one tree to the next. The species has a poor track record for reproducing in captivity.

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