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International Tarsier Day

Peter is an independent international zoo consultant, critic and writer with over 50 years of work within zoos.


The fourth of May was chosen as International Tarsier Day. A day to celebrate the second smallest primate and the only one which is purely carnivorous. This tiny South East Asian primate is under threat from habitat loss, the pet trade and killed as a 'snack food'.

Though the Tarsier receives protection throughout its range it remains under threat and much about the various species remains unknown.

International Tarsier Day is shared with 'Star Wars Day', an interesting coincidence as some Tarsiers have resemblance to a baby Yoda.

There is no argument as to what is the Worlds smallest primate. Is it the Pygmy Mouse Lemur Microcebus myoxinus at 43–55 g. As to second place it is the Pygmy Tarsier Tarsius pumilus at less than 57 g.

Tarsier Facts

  • Tarsiers are the only purely carnivorous primate.
  • Tarsiers are nocturnal.
  • The gestation period is six months, producing a single young.
  • Young Tarsiers can climb within an hour of birth.
  • Some species are monogamous whilst others live in groups.
  • They are amongst the most endangered primates.
  • The Tarsiers are the oldest known primate group.
  • They have extremely long ankle bones (Tarsals)..from where it gets its name.
  • Tarsier taxonomy remains under debate. There are likely three genera and 14 plus species and a number of subspecies.
  • They cannot move their huge eyes.
  • In the wild they may reach 24 years of age. They don't do well in captivity where the oldest was just sixteen years old when it passed away.
  • They communicate through high pitched tweets and also through scent marking.
  • They can move through the trees at speeds of up to 24 m.p.h. and leap distances over 16 feet.
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Tarsier Places I have Visited

Philippine Tarsier Visitors Centre

Loboc River Tarsier Project

Tarsiers: Creepy Little Ninjas

Baby Yoda


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