• Rodel a Betterman

Tarsier - the exotic mascot of the Philippines

Updated: Sep 27, 2019

When you think of Bohol, one that would also come into our mind is the Tarsier. Here in the Philippines, this small creature is always featured in some school textbooks of the social studies subject. As I still remember in my primary years in school way back 35 years ago, Tarsier is incorrectly regarded as the smallest monkey in the world. However, that perception was being corrected until the early 1990’s that Tarsier enthusiast called for the urgent protection and conservation of the creature. An information campaign was started that leads to the formation of the Philippine Tarsier Foundation Inc. (PTFI).

On April 17, 1996, a preservation and conservation sanctuary located in Corella Bohol was established. And its program was solidified thru the proclamation number 1030 under the administration of President Fidel V. Ramos that made the tarsier a specially protected faunal species of the Philippines. It was during this time that information drive about the tarsier was strongly implemented. Similarly, to emphasize that the Tarsier is the smallest primate in the world and not a monkey. That in fact, Tarsier is a cousin of lemur and Tree shrew.

Today, Tarsier is widely known as the smallest primate in the world that can be found in the Southeast Asia. A species endemic in the Philippines. Among the locals, they are known as Mago, Maomag, Malmag or Magatilok – iok.

Let us find out some facts about this cute and snubby mammal.

What is the Scientific name of the Philippine Tarsier Species?

  • Tarsius Syrichta

How Big an Adult Tarsier?

  • Height range from 8.5cm – 16cm

  • Weight varies up to 80 grams – 160 grams

  • About the size of the human fist

How Long they could live?

  • Up to 12 years if in captivity

  • Up to 15 years if left in the wild

Where do the tarsiers Live?

  • For the past 45 million years, Tarsier have inhabited rainforest in the world. But recently, they can be found and exist only in the few Islands of the Philippines, Borneo and Indonesia

What kind of food does Tarsier eat?

  • They dine on Insects like grasshoppers, dragonflies, beetles, cockroaches and crickets

How do the Tarsiers breed?

  • The male attracts 4 or 5 females who they mate only during full moon after a week of courtship. The Tarsier are mammals and after 6 months of pregnancy they will give birth to a single offspring.

Can they be made as Human pets?

  • When caught as pets by human, they will not stay long because usually they commit suicide by banging their heads against branches of the trees or at the wall of the cage.

According to the Bohol’s “Tarsier Man” Mr. Carlito Pizarras, the field Supervisor of the Tarsier Sanctuary who has spent so many years in dealing and interacting with this so called the exotic mascot of the Philippines since the age 12, that Tarsier seems has good memory too “whenever there are Guest their Big marble like eyes stays wide open but if it’s just me around they only give me a brief look, turn their heads 180 degrees and go back to sleep” he explained.

So, why does the Tarsier have Big Eyes?

The Tarsier are nocturnal hunters and their large bulging eyes helps them maximize the available light to catch their food. Similarly, to keep them aware of their predator’s like snakes, cats and monitor lizards.

So, are you now excited to see the “Mamag” personally? Or want to say Hi! Again, to this shy big eye...

Getting here?

We offer a private tour that is available every day. Our Bohol Countryside Tour is our best seller Day tour that make the Tarsier Sanctuary part of the attraction to visit.

Come and enjoy the Tour. Book Now!

Or Ask Us:

+63 977 806 4035





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Tabalong, Dauis

Panglao Island

Bohol, Philippines 6339


+63 977 806 4035

+63 38 510 0722

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