Thursday, December 2, 2010

You cheeky monkey! An impish wink to let the world know he's the smallest primate


Impish: the tiny tarsier winks for the camera - one of the smallest primates in the world

With his huge eyes and friendly face, it's hard not to fall in love with the Phillipine tarsier.

This casual mammal is often seen in inquisitive mode, caught with one eye closed as if in cahoots with the photographer.

Growing to just six-inches in length and weighing less than an average wristwatch, the tarsier is one of the smallest primates in the world.

Handful: A domesticated Philippine tarsier is held in a woman's palm

Once found across the world since its evolution 45million years ago, the mammal - which is in fact not classed as a monkey but a mammal akin to a lemur or bush baby - is now endangered.

The unwelcome attention of feral cats and the loss of habitat are to blame, but in some areas they are also caught and kept in captivity as tourist attractions.

Oddball: The tiny tarsier has huge eyes and ears

As well as big eyes, it has big ears for hearing the insects, birds, snakes and lizards it feeds on. It also has long hind limbs and its feet have extremely elongated tarsus bones, hence his name.

After dark, it can jump more than 40 times its own body length in a surprising display of agility.

Freaky friends: The tarsier is severely endangered as a result of shrinking habitats

Hanging on: Tarsiers are found in South East Asia

source: dailymail

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