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Tarsiers: Tarsiidae

Physical Characteristics

Tarsiers (TAR-see-urz) weigh 2.8 to 5.8 ounces (80 to 165 grams). Body length is 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 centimeters), and tail length is 5 to 11 inches (13 to 28 centimeters). They range in color from sandy to grayish brown to reddish brown. The undersides may be yellowish beige, grayish, or bluish gray. Relative to their body size, tarsiers have the largest eyes of all mammals. Their goggle-like eyes cannot move within the sockets, but a flexible neck can rotate the head 180 degrees for a backward look.

The tarsier is named for its powerful, extended tarsals (TAR-sullz), or ankle bones. The tarsals, together with the merging at the ankles of the two lower-leg bones, the tibia and fibula, allow for remarkable leaps. Fingers and toes are enlarged at the tip, with adhesive pads for gripping vertical branches. The tail is nearly naked, except for a tuft of hair on the tip.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsTarsiers: Tarsiidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Tarsiers And People, Conservation Status, Philippine Tarsier (tarsius Syrichta): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET