Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bohol Wildlife: Tarsiers & Pythons

The tarsier is the indisputable star of Bohol's wildlife. The first time you see a live tarsier, it will certainly win you over with its sheer cuteness. Barely the size of a small kitten, the furry tarsier clings on twigs and branches, stoically gazing at the world with their huge eyes. They are actually nocturnal so that explains their somewhat lethargic behavior during daytime.

Here are some quick facts about the Tarsier from the WWF, where it is listed as one of the Top Ten Species to See:
  • The Philippine tarsier (Tarsius Syrichta) is one of the smallest known primates, measuring about 6 inches in height (although they looked much smaller) and 115g to 130g in weight.
  • It is said that the Philippine Tarsier has the largest eyes, proportionate to its body size, of any animal on the plant.
  • The eyes of the Tarsier are huge, giving it very acute night vision that makes them good night hunters (they subsist on insects and small reptiles).
  • The tarsier's eyes are fixed and unable to move like our eyes. To compensate, their heads can turn 180o and the large ears are constantly moving and picking up sounds.
  • It gets its name from its elongated tarsus or ankle bone.
  • It is believed to be over 45 million years old, one of the oldest land species to continuously live in the Philippines.
From the undeniably cute to the downright creepy, Bohol has it. Another unique animal is stealing some of the limelight from the irresistible tarsiers - Prony the Python. Despite the funny name (derived from Sofronio, the owner's name), there's nothing to laugh about Prony, a ginormous, 24-foot reticulated python considered as the largest in captivity.

Captured from Bohol's rainforests back in 1996, Prony grew to such abnormal proportions because of the love and care provided by her (yes, Prony's a female) owners, who consider her as family. They actually feed her either a live pig or goat every month. There are souvenir photos available showing that grim scenario. We weren't able to see Prony in action because she just lay there like a huge shiny blob of snake leather barely moving a muscle. It would have been cool to see her devour a pig.

But on second thought, We'd rather not. Haha. We're perfectly fine with Prony just lying there peacefuly while MariMar entertains us with some Prony anecdotes in his/her baritone voice. (Right Talie? haha) I have seen the crocodile in Albay Parks and Wildlife gobble some chickens and it certainly isn't a pretty sight, LOLs.

Read more about Prony the Python here.

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