#169 Siau Island Tarsier

Critically Endangered

This small primate is endemic to Siau Island, a part of Indonesia's Sulawesi province. They are only 4-6 inches long, though if you count their almost rat-like tail, they are closer to 14 inches. Tarsiers are the only completely carnivorous primates. They also have the largest eye to body ratio of all mammals, and a brain that is the size of their eyeball, or smaller. Interestingly, they cannot move their eyes, but can turn their head 180°. Half of the geographic range of the island is taken up by an active volcano. The rest of their habitat is at risk because of humans. In spite of being considered one of the 25 most endangered primates, there are no protected areas for them, and they are still hunted for food. Because they are so small, as many as 10 are eaten in one sitting. Unlike many primates they really do not do well in captivity. The artificial lights bother their eyes and they need live varied prey. They are known to bang their heads, either due to sadness, insanity of a sort, or in a futile attempt to escape. Their skulls are quite thin, and the head banging essentially results in suicide. Their main vocalization is actually ultrasound. One kind of tarsier was thought to be yawning quite a bit, and then it was realized that they were talking up a storm.

There was a ton of tarsier information. Granted, a lot of it is just assumed about these because they have not been studied as much as others. For instance, none have been weighed and they have no idea how long they live. That means the post goes a bit long. I try to keep them at what amounts to about a 2 minute read. Even so, I wanted to share this picture. I usually am done painting, or close to done by the time my husband gets finished with work. Today though, I didn't even really start painting until 5:30. My husband was walking past me when I'd gotten to this point and did a double-take. He said it looked like I was trying to paint an alien. I thought it was funny, and I can see why he'd think that.

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