Spectral tarsier

Spectral tarsier

Although it looks timid, the spectral tarsier is a fierce bug hunter. It can devour insects over half its size.

The spectral tarsier

The spectral tarsier, Tarsius spectrum


The spectral tarsier (Tarsius spectrum) is the shortest primate in the world. It is only 9cm tall. Despite its miniature body, it has enormous eyes. In fact, its eyes are so big that it can't move them, and has to swivel its neck to see in different directions. It can turn its head all the way around.

...but tough

Although it's tiny and harmless looking, the tarsier is an extremely aggressive bug hunter. It pounces on insects over half the size of its own body and devours them hungrily. Spectral tarsiers come out at night and are usually found in trees, but they often clamber down to the forest floor to hunt insects.

Long leaping legs

Spectral tarsiers can make astounding leaps. Even though they're little, they can leap up to 6m, the height of three very tall men. Their long lower legs help them make these daring jumps and the bottom part of their legs are almost twice as long as the head and the body together.

Another special feature on their legs is the 'toilet claw' on their second and third toes. They use this to groom themselves and keep clean and tidy.

We are family

Spectral tarsiers are sociable animals, living in pairs or large groups. They hunt for food in groups and they sleep huddled together. When a female tarsier has a baby she carries it around with her in her mouth, although she'll leave it on a branch when she's foraging for food.