When travelling to Manado in North Sulawesi, do not miss to see the incredibly cute little Tarsius, mostly found in the Tangkoko Nature Reserve near the port of Bitung and the Lembeh Strait.
These cute little Tarsius monkeys are the smallest primates in the world and fit easily in the fist of your hand. Their big saucer eyes, that stare at you, are disproportionally larger compared to their tiny bodies. These big eyes they need to see at night since these are nocturnal animals. They grow only to 10cm to 15cm and weigh on average about 80 grams only.
Endemic to the Sulawesi forests, the endangered Tarsius has a small body that is agile and can jump from tree to tree to find its food that consists of grasshoppers and other insects. The Tarsius has a long tail that is longer than its body, and has quite long fingers which allow them to jump some 3 meters catching branches from tree to tree.
Its most outstanding feature, however, is that the Tarsius is the most faithful animal in existence since it takes one and one mate only throughout its entire life, and even when its mate dies, it will not take another.
Its preferred habitat in Sulawesi is the Tangkoko Nature Reserve which forests it shares with the Black Macaque monkeys, who are docile and are not afraid of people when they are approached.
The Sulawesi Black Macaque monkeys – here called “yaki” are very social since they live in groups and families and walk mostly on the ground. The Black Macaques are also endangered , since it is estimated that there are only around 5,000 left in the jungles of Sulawesi, with an estimated 2,000 living in Tangkoko. These monkeys live on leaves and fruits, but also eat snakes and rats.
If you do not have the time or are not adventurous enough to trek through the forest at night, you can watch these cute Tarsius primates and the black macaque as well as other endemic animals like the babirusa (wild boar), maleo birds, the toucan hornbill, black cuckatoos and more at the Tandurusa Zoological Garden near Bitung.