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Western Tarsier

Western Tarsier & offspring (DGFC) © Rachel Munds
  • Tarsiers are one of the two nocturnal primates that can be found in the Kinabatangan.
  • Despite the large size of their eyes, torchlight isn't reflected in the same way as the slow loris and other nocturnal animals. This is because the tarsier lacks the part of the eye known as the tapetum lucidum.
  • Tarsiers are only known to feed on live animals, particularly insects.
  • The Western tarsier is the only tarsier known to eat birds, snakes and small mammals.
  • They hunt for prey by looking down and jumping to the ground to catch it.
  • Many researchers trap tarsiers using mist-nets or by hand, but it causes much distress to the animal.  For this reason Rachel Munds and Ridzwan Ali hope to develop a more humane method of trapping them.
  • They are vertical clingers and leapers (V.C.L.). They jump between saplings and small trees as their primary mode of locomotion.
  • Tarsiers are commonly found at heights of 1-3m.
  • The tail is used to stabilize the animal by lying flat against the tree for balance.
  • There is a tuft of fur at the end of the tail which can be used to distinguish between species.
  • Threats to the tarsier include deforestation, human consumption and the pet trade.
  • Individuals taken for the pet trade often do not survive to be sold due to their specialized diet.