After ticking the chocolate hills and a jungle river cruise off my list off must-dos for Bohol, I had just one thing left – to find Bohol’s most famous resident: the tarsier.

With just 1000 left in the wild, tarsiers are highly endangered and can only be found in the Philippines, Borneo and Indonesia. 

Reminding me of an ET/Gremlin crossover, the tarsier is the world’s smallest primate. It has a rat-like tail, bat like ears, frog-like legs and each eyeball is as large as its entire brain!

tarsier in Bohol sanctuary

Sadly, there are too many places in Bohol that keep tarsiers looked up in tiny cages, only getting them out for tourists to hold and have their photo taken.

The tarsiers are so distraught by being in captivity that they repeatedly bang their heads against a wall until they die.

I paid a visit to the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary, where the tarsiers are kept in their natural habitat and visitors are not allowed to touch them, make loud noises or use flash photography.

We spent half an hour walking around the sanctuary with a guide, learning about the tarsiers and trying to spot them hiding in the trees.

tarsier in a tree in the Philippines

girl with a tarsier

tarsier looking evil in Bohol

girl cupping a tarsier on a tour of Bohol

The tarsier is probably the most bizarre creature I’ve ever seen. I wasn’t sure if I found them cute, freaky or evil looking but they were pity-inducing and it was truly heartbreaking to hear of their sad demise.

It is absolutely worth paying the tarsiers a visit at the sanctuary if you ever find yourself in Bohol.

The Philippine tarsier sanctuary is less than half an hour drive from Tagbilaran, is open 7am – 6pm and the entrance fee is 20PHP (40¢). 

What is the cutest animal you’ve ever seen?

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