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Oh My, What Big Eyes You Have - Endangered Tarsier

BY DIONNE LISTER

Ok, so now I know where they got the idea for Gremlins, it’s the Tarsier! This quirky primate has the biggest, freakiest eyes for it's weight of any animal (as it is a nocturnal hunter) and would be at home in any scary movie. The Tarsier has been in continual existence for around 45 million years and belongs to the same family as the loris and lemur. They are categorised as vulnerable to critically endangered and not enough is being done to save them.

This bat-eared little guy can jump long distances, has a diet of bugs, bugs, bugs and the occasional bird or lizard, and has a head that can turn 180 degrees as it’s eyeballs don’t move - hence the creepy but cute stare.

All four species of the tarsier live on a few islands in Southeast Asia where they are a tourist attraction, a fact that is adding to their woes. They are solitary animals who can feel enormous stress when faced with snap-happy, finger-prodding tourists. When caged and presented with hordes of staring humans, this little animal, in its desire to escape the cage, will bash it’s head against the bars until it dies - horrific.

They are also on the menu for some people in the places they live - kind of gross as how could you eat something with such human, pleading eyes? Humans are also destroying their habitat. These lovable little monsters have survived since forever and now we, displaying all the skill at idiocy we can muster, are managing to wipe them out of existence - yeah, good one humans.

The Philippine Tarsier Foundation has been set up to study these animals and they have created a sanctuary and visitor’s centre in the Philippines. One of their main aims is to preserve the habitat of this primate, so if you would like to help them do this, visit their website and consider making a donation.

Check out a tarsier eating a cricket on this short video. 

What do you think?


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