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Natural History
Physical Features
Tarsier Facts
Captured Tarsiers
The Tarsier Man
Virtual Page
Tarsier Foundation
Natural History

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Habitat: Tarsiers can be found in and around the base of tree trunks and the roots of plants such as bamboo. Occasionally found in holes at the top of trees. In Mindanao, these tarsiers appear to thrive best in second or third growth thickets along the coast and in the valleys.

Social Behavior: Philippine tarsiers use hollows close to the ground for hiding. In captivity, individuals may huddle together or intertwine their tails. No male parental care has been observed. These tarsiers have intestinal parasites and external parasites such as Trichomonas.

Social Structure: Groups are believed to be larger than 1 male and 1 female.

Behavior: Nocturnal and Arboreal. All tarsiers hunt at night, exclusively for animal prey.

Diet: Animal prey. Their diet includes primarily insects such as cockroaches and crickets and sometimes reptiles, birds, and bats . Philippine tarsier in captivity will eat live shrimp and fish in a bowl of water.

Vocalizations: The loud call is a loud piercing single note. The contented call is a "soft sweet bird-like trill." Several individuals make a "chirping locust-like communication." Females have a vocalization that signals their approaching sexual receptivity.

Scent Marking: Males have epigastric gland used for scent marking.

Reproduction: The females have a prosimian-type uterus and a higher primate placenta. One unusual feature is that they have multiple breast pairs, yet generally only the pectoral pair is functional. The other ones serve as anchoring points for newborn. The newborn is born in a well-advanced state of development well furred, eyes open. Head and body length at birth is 66-72 mm, tail 114-117 mm, weight 25-27 grams. They are able to move about after only two days . Infants are carried by means of their mother's mouth or on her belly. No nest is built. The young tarsiers can climb after two days and jump after four. Normal locomotor patterns ensue at approximately 19 days.

Juveniles tend to be more uniformly colored than adults.

Life History Weaning: 60d.

Sexual maturity: 2 years

Estrus cycle: 23.5d.

Gestation: 180 d.

Life span: 12 - 20 years

Mating: Year-round.

Offspring: 1 (After copulation in captivity, vaginal plugs have been observed. The infant is born with open eyes and is carried by the female in her mouth when disturbed in captivity. The female parks her infant while foraging).

Tarsiers have the highest infant-weight-to-maternal-weight ratio of any primate that gives birth to a single infant.