Information About Tarsier


What are the characteristics of tarsier? Information about the features, living habitat of tarsier primate.

TARSIER, an arboreal, rat-size primate related to the lemur but considered as representative of an intermediate stage between lemurs and the higher primates (monkeys, apes, and man). The three species of tarsier are found in rain forests, dense bamboo thickets, or secondary jungle growth, usually at low altitudes. They occur in the Philippines ( Tarsius syrichta ), on Sumatra, Borneo, and adjacent smaller islands ( T. bancanus ), and on Celebes and adjacent smaller islands ( T. spectrum ).

The tarsier has a rather squat body with long hind legs and a long, nearly hairless, nonprehen-sile tail. The tips of the fingers and toes are expanded into soft, flat pads, enabling the tarsier to cling to almost any surface. All but the second and third toes, which have claws used in grooming, bear flat nails. The head is broad and rounded and can be turned through 180 degrees, permitting the tarsier to look straight backward. The ears are large and hairless. The eyes are enormous, in proportion to total body size being three times larger than those of any other primate. Tarsiers range from 3 1/3 to 6 1/4 inches ( 85-160 mm ) in total body length, plus a tail 5 1/3 to 10 3/4 inches (135-274 mm) long, and from 3 to 6 ounces (80-165 grams) in weight. The coat is short, dense, and silky and gray-brown in color.

Tarsiers are nocturnal, spending the day hidden in dense vegetation and emerging at night to feed on insects, spiders, and lizards. Though rather clumsy when walking on all fours, tarsiers can leap about with great agility. They can jump as far as 6 feet (1.8 meters) from tree trunk to tree trunk and nearly this distance in froglike hops on the ground.

Tarsiers are usually seen in pairs and rarely singly or in groups of three or four. Breeding occurs throughout the year. Gestation is believed to be about 6 months, after which a single young is born. A tarsier is known to have lived 12 years in captivity.


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