We Meet a Pygmy Tarsier
Our police escort took us a short distance from Manggar Beach to a small cultural museum. I still cannot get over the boots.
The tarsier statue, the picture on the side of the bus and a picture on the way into the museum gave us no clues to the size of what we were here to see.
We made ourselves look at the first room, full of local bits and bobs.
Out in the central courtyard was a crocodile in what could best be described as a bath with a net across the top. One of our ladies got hold of one of the museum employees and gave him a roasting about the size of the poor creatures accommodation.........Worse still was a filthy concrete pool at the end of the crocodiles bath that was tiny and allegedly held some turtles. We did see movement a couple of times as a head or two bobbed up for air but Oh Dear.....
From the far end of the courtyard. The crocodile pool is furthest away, a fountain in the middle held nothing and the poor turtles are behind the ladies knees. The main attraction, in the aviary, was sitting at elbow height and visible as a tiny blob. Bear took the first picture of this tiny chap, all eyes, hands and tail. I was given a small grasshopper and poked said wriggly between the bars. It took less than a second for the tarsier to leap from his branch, grab the offered food, leap back to his branch and swallow the shocked grasshopper. Talk about lightning fast.
We dragged ourselves to visit the back room laid out to look like a traditional house. A stone game followed by a jam session on a bamboo xylophone accompanied by tambourines.
A bride and groom graced the far wall and to the right a typical bridal bed.
A picture of a huge crocodile was hanging on the wall.
Our new mate Antu Bubu stood in the corner, a great old photograph..........that was it – back to the little chap who set about to be very uncooperative. The challenge was set, to get the pygmy tarsier in some decent shots.
The pygmy tarsier (Tarsius pumilus), also known as the mountain tarsier or the lesser spectral tarsier, is a nocturnal primate found in central Sulawesi, Indonesia, in an area with lower vegetative species diversity than the lowland tropical forests. The pygmy tarsier was believed to have become extinct in the early 20th century. Then, in 2000, Indonesian scientists accidentally killed one while trapping rats. The first pygmy tarsiers seen alive since the 1920’s were found by a research team led by Dr Sharon Gursky and Ph.D. student Nanda Grow from Texas A&M University on Mount Rore Katimbo in Lore Lindu National Park in August 2008. The two males and single female (a fourth escaped) were captured using nets, and were radio collared to track their movements. As the first live pygmy tarsiers seen in 80-plus years, these captures dispelled the belief among some primatologists that the species was extinct.
The pygmy tarsier has a head-body length of 95 to 105 mm (about 4 inches), and weighs less than 57 grams (2 ounces). It has very distinct morphological features, a body length which is smaller than other tarsier species, and a small body weight. It also has smaller ears than the rest of the genus, and its fur is tan or buff with predominant grey or brownish red colouring. The tail is heavily haired and ranges from 135 to 275 mm. The most noticeable feature of the pygmy tarsier are its large eyes, about 16 mm in diameter.
Sitting, getting ready to yawn and yawning turned this little chap into a real-life Gremlin.
We were fascinated with his hands, feet, speed and alertness.
Our favourites, pity about the cage reflected in his eyes.............
ALL IN ALL AN INCREDIBLE LITTLE CREATURE
WHAT BIG EYES