Common Name: Western Tarsier
Scientific Name: Tarsius bancanus
Species: T. bancanus
Tarsius bancanus, the Western Tarsius, is an extraordinary primate. Its general description is not what most animals would look like. Their habitat/range is mostly on islands and jungles. Its population is smaller than most animals also. It eats its predators and even its reproduction is strange in its own ways.
The Western Tarsiers have large eyes, larger than all of the animals, which see very well. They have small compact bodies, which are 7 to 9 inches tall, 41/2 to 6 inches long, and weigh 3 to 4 ounces. Their fur is silky and velvety and can be the color of grayish brown to dark brown to ochre, beige and sand colored. Even though they have small compact bodies, they can rotate their head 180 degrees, to see right behind them. They have great hearing, to help detect prey, and have powerful ankle bones (how they got their name). They use their strong anklebones to jump more than 40 times their own body length. They like jumping and clinging to trees, they can do this with their sharp toenails. These Western Tarsiers are small and tough, but what parts of world do they live in to show this toughness?
Western Tarsiers live in small island southwest Asia- south of Philippians, Borneo, Sumatra, and other Indonesian islands. In these islands there are found in coastal forests, primary and secondary rain forests, jungles, dense strands of bamboo and vegetation, and in settlements and gardens. They live in these areas because they need small animals and insects for food, and free water to drink. Also because they need an area where they can jump from tree to tree. They live in trees, so they compete with birds for food. They also hide from predators in the trees they live in too. They mostly live on islands south of Asia, so how many of them are there in these islands?
Western Tarsiers are one of the endangered species, and there population is decreasing. There is an estimate between 5,000 and 10,000 left in the world. The contribution towards the Western Tarsiers population is there habitat loss. This is happening because of the destruction of rainforests. Another reason their population is decreasing is the hunters hunting for them. Also because they are being killed and captured at an alarming rate. They are endangered, but there diet is quite interesting.
Western Tarsiers are nocturnal, so they are awake and hunting by night and asleep at day. When they are awake they mostly hunt for insects, occasionally they go for the small animals like; small birds, crabs, snake, bats, etc. They are tree dwellers, so they eat in trees. When they hunt, they spot then stalk their prey, then “leaps onto it and seizes it with its front paws.”(Western Tarsiers: Facts and Information) They are an important part of the food web, as predator and prey. They compete with owls, birds, and bats for food. They can be one strong hunter, with very good hunting skills.
Snakes, lizards, owls, and other birds are predators to the Western Tarsier. When a Western Tarsier gets attacked, nearby tarsiers swarm and attack the predator. They also eat what tries to kill them; snakes, lizards, owls, and other birds. They do get stalked, but they now how to protect themselves very well. There are scared of their predators, but their predators are scared of them too.
When they mate they “form male female pairs.”(Tarsius Bancanus Horsfield, 1821) Sometimes groups have one male and two or three females. These “pairs form close and stable bonds, and stay together for more than a year.”(Tarsius Bancanus Horsfield, 1821) Then Western Tarsiers females’ give birth to a single offspring. The female offspring stays with parents until adulthood, the male offspring leave as juveniles. Reproduction of the Western Tarsier is very organized and complicated.
The interesting thing about the Western Tarsier is that they “like to sing with a high-pitch voice.”(Tarsiers- Info and Games) With their voices the males and females do duets. Sometimes that’s how they mate. They may be cute, but they are fearsome to their prey and predators. That is because it eats what tries to kill them.
In conclusion, Western Tarsiers can sing and hunt very well, have large eyes, good hearing, and like to jump. They are not t very complex, but they still can look after themselves without help. They don’t like to stay in small spaces and they also don’t like to be held captivated. So it would be rare to see them in animal reserves or zoos. The Western Tarsier is small, but can do what people don’t expect them do.
Author: Briauna G.
Photo Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horsfield's_tarsier