On the Island of Bohol in the Philippines lives one of the most interesting primates in the world.The Philippine Tarsier is a small primate measuring only 3-6 inches tall and weighing only 3-6 ounces with a long tail; this nervous little primate sleeps by day and is an active hunter at night.
The Philippine Tarsier is a protected species with only about 1000 running around the Island of Bohol. The Tarsier Conservation Sanctuary is one of the few places you can catch a glimpse of this shy little creature. For a small fee you can wander around the sanctuary and see a few of the little primates as they sleep or if you’re lucky they might have their eyes open but they don’t move around much.
It seems that even on a beautiful tropical Island where all you have to do is sleep all day and eat all night these little fellas still seem to have a tendency to get stressed out. Used to be you could hold one and get your photo taken but no more. These shy little primates get nervous when they hear loud noises, bright lights or get manhandled by tourists and others.
When they feel too stressed out they start beating their little heads against something hard, such as a tree and commit tarsier suicide.
The sanctuary has somewhere between 10-15 Tarsiers out in the trees so you can get up close and take photos and see this endangered species but no flash photography. Otherwise you might hear a shriek and a see the little guy start beating his head against a tree. Don’t get me wrong here I know they are shy and all but I just keep getting a vision of a little animal that doesn’t do anything but eat all night and sleep all day getting so stressed out by a flash that they commit suicide.
Put me on the Island of Bohol and it would take a lot to stress me out. Then again if someone was always taking my photo, maybe. Maybe some of those Hollywood types that are legends in their own minds could take a lesson here. Instead of slugging the paparazzi maybe they should just beat their heads against a wall.
The Tarsier is a nocturnal, carnivorous primate leaving their sleeping areas and hunting small insects and vertebrates. They even hunt poisonous snakes, small birds, fish and crabs always returning to their living area to sleep.
The Tarsier sanctuary houses about 300 of the little creatures, with somewhere around 1000 total on the island living in the wild. If they can manage not getting too stressed out they can live to be 15-16 years old but in zoos or captivity they get too stressed out and find the nearest hard object to bash their head against and end their misery.
If you get to Bohol they are worth seeing and the guides are helpful and knowledgeable. Just don’t make any loud noises and keep the flash turned off on the camera. You don’t want to be the cause of another Tarsier suicide.
Adela @ FourJandals says
That is the cutest little animal ever!
Deb Thompson (@newjetsetters) says
Hey Jandal-friends! Nice to see you on this great site! This really is an amazingly cute little creature! Would love to see one for real one of these days! Great pictures and a great little story – although I do feel distressed to know they kil themselves this way. They need some anti-anxiety medication!
Maybe a little Prozac.
Peter Clay says
Great post, though I feel bad for the little creatures – suicide because of a bad day at the office, geez!
I have to admit I have felt like hitting my head against a wall once or twice.
Poor things! Who knew a little creature living in the jungle could get so stressed out!
I know, nervous little things aren’t they?
Oh my gosh – they’re the cutest little things ever! I can’t imagine them hunting snakes, though…
Maybe that is why they are so nervous all the time.
So cute 🙂