whale Facts

Whale Portrait - Beluga WhalePortrait of a Beluga Whale

One of the most incredible whale facts is that they have an entire structure in their brain devoted to processing emotions, that no other creature on Earth has! The tarsier is a tiny primate with a whole bunch of unique characteristics, and a fossil history that dates back 50 million years.

It is a spectacular looking little animal, with enormous eyes, a delicate, elf-like nose and a sweet grin. They have expressive hands and fingers, and f

Phillipine tarsier close up

Tarsiers also have a long, mostly naked tail, often with a little tuft of hair on the end, that actually has dermal ridges like a fingerprint on the underside, to provide traction against smooth surfaces. The tail is not prehensile, but acts as a rudder in the air, and like a tripod at rest, allowing the tarsier to sit comfortably on vertical branches.

At one time they could be found in many corners of the world, including Europe and North America, but now they live in rainforests throughout Borneo, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Tarsiers spend most of their time clinging to vertical reeds and branches. The enormous eyes of the tarsier are the largest in proportion to body size of any mammal. The visual cortex, which is the area of the brain devoted to vision, is correspondingly huge.

The eyeballs can't move within the eyes sockets, but the neck is designed to allow the head to rotate 180 degrees in either direction, giving them a 360 degree field of vision, just like an owl. No other mammal can swivel their head as far. The eyes lack the reflective quality of many nocturnal animals, which is probably why they need to be so large, and suggests that the tarsiers ancestors were probably active during the daylight. 

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There is lots of cof who they are related to, but where they came from in the first place.

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tarsier showing pupils dilatedtarsier with pupils dilated in the dark - taken with quick flash

The tarsier is an extremely mysterious little animal that not much is known about.

Even how many species there are is unknown, since the investigation it takes to identify differences is just not taking place, and the information that is available is greatly disputed.

Currently, there are considered to be anywhere between 6 and 26 different species depending on the source. The species vary only slightly in lifestyle, vocalizations, eye and ear size, and they also have different lengths and amounts of hair on their tails.

The vocalizations have come to be a reasonable source in identifying different species. Once thought to be a very quiet animal, there have been recent insights into their communication habits.

The tarsier is one of the few animals that is considered to "sing", meaning they repeat melodic notes in sequence, like birds. But it's only recently been discovered that tarsiers make ultrasonic noises - sounds that are so high in frequency that the human ear can't hear them.

This discovery is a bit embarrassing for researchers, because tarsiers often open their mouths in large gapes that looked like silent screams. Long explained away as yawns by scientists, they actually are screams, usually warning calls, that we just can't hear.

Like a tree falling in a forest, observers believed their own sensory experience was the only one that counted. After it was discovered several years ago that elephants communicate in sounds too low for us to hear, now some specific investigation is long overdue into the possible communications going on of animal species that are above or below our own audio abilities.

Tarsiers sleep during the day, clinging to a vertical tree branch or vine. They don't build nests, but some species, like the spectral tarsier, like to sleep in hollow trees. They wake at sunset and set out swiftly across their territory to hunt a variety of insects including grasshoppers and beetles. They mark the perimeters of their territories with urine, and will defend it from other groups, although territories do overlap.

The tarsier uses its excellent vision and keen hearing to hunt. The ears are constantly twitching and rotating to catch sounds of possible prey, and its head swivels to locate it. The tarsier will open its eyes as wide as possible to focus on a target up in the trees or on the jungle floor. Most photos of tarsiers are taken in daylight, so the pupils are tiny, and the gold/green eye color is prominant, but in the dark of night the pupil is huge and nearly fills the eye.

Once dinner is spotted the tarsier may adjust its body position, or move a step closer, measuring the distance, then pounces on its prey, trapping it with its hands and holding it up to its mouth to consume. They have very sharp teeth, and the mouth is very large, spanning across the width of the face.

Speaking of the face, tarsiers have very expressive ones. Their upper lips have musculature similar to our own, and the tarseier is capable of making all kinds of human expressions, including grinning from ear to ear. The face doesn't really have a muzzle either, just a small, upturned nose, book-ended by those gigantic eyes - spectacular!

whale baleen in mouththe baleen teeth of a grey whale

whale facts on reproduction

Tarsier species have different breeding habits, but generally the female comes into estrus once a month. Many of these an

Tarsier babies wean quickly, and by 4 to 6 weeks they are hunting for themselves. Young may stay with the family group for 2 years or more before leaving. Some species form monogamous pairs, some form groups with one male and a few females.

humpback whale cow and calfhumpback whale cow and calf
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a few more whale facts

spectral tarsier
  • The killer whale is a actually the largest species of dolphin.
  • Killer whales stick their heads straight out of the water and inspect the world above the sea in an activity called "spyhopping"
  • Killer whales are also known as "orcas" and by Inuit communities as "blackfish"
  • The killer whales top speed is almost 35 mph
  • Killer whales sleep with 1/2 their brain at a time!
  • The whale has a structure in its brain to process emotions that no other animal has - including human beings 

    Tarsier     - animalstats -
buck doe infant solitary, pairs
plot, troop Southeast Asia rainforest insects
24 mph yes 3 - 8 ounces 3.5 - 7 inches
1 x month  6 months 1-2  inches 1-2 ounces
mother  1 eyes open 1 hour
8-10 weeks 4 months 1- 2 years 12-20 years

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