North Sulawesi’s Nocturnal Mascot: Spectral Tarsier (Tarsius tarsier)
There are plenty of other “Creatures of the Night” in North Sulawesi than just the weird and wonderful critters that we see underwater. We even have some amazing nocturnal critters around our resort too. The spectral tarsier (Tarsius tarsier) can be heard and often spotted in the Lembeh Resort surrounding. Read on to find out more about this creature!
Spectral Tarsier Unique Facts
This primate is actually really amazing and here are some unusual facts to prove it!
There are several species of tarsier monkey
Although the groups were thought to be once more widespread, almost all of the species living today are found in Maritime Southeast Asia, specifically in the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei.
Endemic species to Sulawesi, Indonesia
Did you know that the spectral tarsier species is endemic to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi? The highest density of spectral tarsiers (tarsius) is found right here in the province of North Sulawesi and has become the official mascot since 2011.
The smallest primates
The tarsius is the smallest of all known primates on the planet. The tiny tarsier has a head-body length of only 9.5 – 14cm and a tail of 20 – 26cm. Compared to their small bodies, tarsiers have very long slender hands, feet, and digits. Their hands are thought to be the longest of any living primate in relation to their body size.
Small but athletic
Tarsiers are incredible athletes and they can jump 40 times the length of their body. That’s the equivalent of us being able to leap around 60 meters! They use this ability to move through the tree canopy in the forests in which they live and to catch their prey.
Has the biggest eyes
What big eyes you have! The tarsier has the biggest eyes of any mammal relevant to body weight and size. In fact, their eyes are bigger than their brains. Their eyes are so big that they are actually immobile but this is compensated for by the tarsier’s ability to rotate its head 180 degrees. They have the most acute night vision out of all primates.
Mostly monogamous, can be monogamy
Most tarsiers are monogamous, but spectral tarsiers have been known to engage in facultative monogamy or polygyny. They live in small groups of one reproducing female, one territorial male, and 2 or 3 other younger females.
Long gestation period
Despite their small size, the gestation period for female tarsiers is approximately 180 days (around 6 months). Tarsiers give birth to just one infant which is born fully furred and with its eyes already open. Infant tarsiers are incredibly nimble and can even climb trees at just one day old.
Tarsiers have sleeping sites and then they travel together with their group for around 30 minutes to foraging sites. As the morning approaches tarsiers sing, either in duet with their mate or in a group chorus in order to alert other groups that the territory is occupied.
Tarsiers are extremely social and they spend their time in groups, playing, grooming, snuggling, and even intertwining their tails.
A caring carnivores
Tarsiers are carnivores and they feed mainly on flying insects such as moths, locusts, and cicadas. They catch prey in their long fingers and return to their perch to eat it. They often share food with the other members of their group.
Little is confirmed regarding the lifespan of a tarsier but it is thought that in the wild the lifespan is between 2-12 years.
Spectral Tarsier at Lembeh
Tarsiers love the gardens around Lembeh Resort and we are extremely lucky to spot them in the trees at sunset and sunrise as they set out and return from an evening of foraging. If you hear a distinctive bird-like singing, look up into the trees and you might spot one.
The Spectral tarsier is just one of several primate species which we have here in North Sulawesi. Join us for a trip to the Tangkoko National Park and you’ll have the opportunity to see tarsiers as well as the endangered black macaque in their natural habitats.
Our Tangkoko tour is an excellent way to spend the last day of your stay prior to flying home. The tour involves a light to medium level trek through this stunning region of protected primary rainforest. For nature enthusiasts and nature photographers, this is an exceptional chance to see phenomenal wildlife in its natural environment.
The Tangkoko Nature Reserve is also home to numerous rare species of birds including hornbills, Sulawesi owls, kingfishers, and maleo birds. It’s a wonderful day out and our professional tour guides are as expert at spotting wildlife as our dive guides are at spotting marine life.
Are you ready to book your next North Sulawesi scuba diving adventure? Come and join us for the best muck diving in the world, incredible wildlife, and a luxury holiday in the stunning Lembeh Strait. Contact us at: [email protected]! We look forward to welcoming you to our beautiful Indonesian island resort soon.
Interested in reading more?
If you enjoyed reading this Blog, you may also be interested in reading more about our underwater critters too: