If you are planning to spend time in Bohol, an island province in the Visayan region of the Philippines, you might have heard about the famous tourist sites, such as the Chocolate Hills, the Loboc River, and the Bilar Mahogany Man-Made Forest.
While those are great places to visit, your trip won’t be complete without getting to meet the tarsier.
Can you believe that this brother of the gorilla can fit in your pocket or sit on top of your palm?
One Of The Smallest Primates In The World
The tarsier of Bohol is only about 85 to 160 millimeters or 3.35 to 6.30 inches tall and the males weigh between 80 to 160 grams or 2.8 to 5.6 ounces while females are usually lighter. They are literally the size of your clenched fist.
Its narrow and bald tail is longer than its body, usually twice in length.
Here are other cool things you need to know about tarsiers:
Agile As Spider-Man
Tarsiers have extra-long and elongated ankle bones or tarsus, from which its name was derived. This enables them to jump at least 3 meters high and move agilely from tree to tree.
Aside from their agility, they also have sharp teeth that allow them to catch their prey easily. Rather than having four incisors in their lower jaw like other primates, they uniquely have only two. Their dental formula is 22.214.171.124 126.96.36.199 x 2 = 34.
Just Like Owls
If you like owls, then you will surely be interested in the tarsier because of some similarities that they share. Just like the owl, the tarsier is also a nocturnal animal and is most active at night hunting for prey, particularly insects as it is primarily insectivorous.
It also has very large eyes, making its eye-to-body ratio the largest among mammals. Can you imagine having eyes bigger than your brain? However, these eyes give tarsiers excellent night vision, since these nocturnal creatures hunt at night.
And because its eyes are fixed in its skull, they cannot move in their sockets. To compensate for this, its neck has adapted and enabled the tarsier to rotate its head 180 degrees just like – you guessed it – the owl.
These Little Creatures Are Very Old
With their tiny little bodies and cute features, who would think that these animals are very old? The tarsier is a member of the family Tarsiidae, which is approximately 45 million years old. In the past million years, they inhabited rainforests around the world.
However, the growth of the human population caused their natural habitats to disappear as more forests are converted into farmlands, residential areas, and roads. Currently, they can only be found on a few islands in the Philippines, Borneo, and Indonesia.
You Can Visit Them In Their Natural Habitat
When you go to Bohol, you will get to observe them in their natural habitat by visiting the Tarsier Conservation Area. The 167-hectare Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary is an arm of the Philippine Tarsier Foundation, Inc. and covers the municipalities of Corella, Sikatuna and Loboc. It is currently managed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
In this sanctuary, you will see the tarsiers living freely in a natural setting.
They Are Camera-shy
Seeing them for the first time may prompt you to take out your DSLRs or camera phones and take pictures of these cute little furry animals. But be warned that flash photography is prohibited at the sanctuary.
Since they are nocturnal animals, most of them would probably be sleeping while clinging to a tree. Camera flashes could wake them up and frighten them. Tarsiers are often shy and nervous so you can help lessen their stress by not using flash or touching them.
If you’d like to see the tarsier up close, book your Bohol Guided Day Tour: Tarsier Sanctuary and Chocolate Hills now!