Tarsier Sanctuary

Adorable, nocturnal tree-hugging fur-balls with giant eyes

The Tarsier is the unofficial mascot of Bohol, and everywhere on the island is themed around these little balls of fur. These cute little tree huggers are a huge tourist draw to Bohol Island, but very easy to miss.

Tarsiers are furballs that look like weird rats. They’re only 6-8 inches (15-20cm) from head to tail and have disproportionately large eyes. These adorable handheld nocturnal primates look super innocent, and something you’d want to keep as a pet, but these nocturnal hunters munch on insects throughout the night and are mostly sleeping during the days.

The sanctuary is home to a few hundred (estimated) Tarsiers; however, you will (likely) see only a handful of these cute little things just chilling on a tree branch, watching crazy tourists take pictures of them.

If you don’t know, now you know…

Spoiler alert: After you visit, you’ll probably want one of those fur balls as a pet. Sadly, Tarsiers commit suicide while in captivity (total buzz kill).

Tarsier Sanctuary Uncensored

The Tarsier Sanctuary is located deep in the jungles of the Philippines on Bohol Island. The tropical climate means it’s going to be shitty-humid and freaking hot. 

The sanctuary opens at 9:00 am local time and is a top-rated destination for tourists. Try to get there as close to 9:00 am as possible for two reasons. 

  1. Tarsiers are active at night, and they’ll be settling down for a nap. You may still be able to catch a few Tarsiers awake.
  2. Large tour buses come through the sanctuary around lunchtime. Exploring the property without hundreds of other people is quite peaceful.

Photographing tarsiers requires some skill and more than a cell phone camera. The single most important thing you need to remember is no flash photography! These little critters are nocturnal and love the night (hence the giant eyes) and are very sensitive to bright flashes of light.

Getting a decent shot of Tarsiers is challenging; the sanctuary guides keep you back 3-4 ft (1 m) to protect the little furry fuckers in their natural habitat. You can use the digital zoom on your cell phone, but the autofocus will (likely) have problems due to the leaves/branches around.

Bring a good digital camera or DSLR (recommended) with a modest optical zoom lens, and you’ll snap some fantastic photos.

Tarsier Sanctuary through the viewfinder

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