Only in the Philippines will you find a great number of rare and exotic animals. The surrounding waters of this country alone have been reported to have the highest level of biodiversity in the world. It is home to 165 species of mammals, 121 of which can be found only in this part of the world. There are about 86 species of birds and about 895 species of butterflies making the Philippines home of the highest concentration of birds and butterflies in the world.
In a study by the Philippine Congress, sadly 123,000 hectares of the country’s forest cover are lost every year. It also added that by 2036 there would be no forest left in the Philippines unless reforestation is started.
The endangered Philippine eagle is one of the largest in the world. Also known as the monkey-eating eagle, it lives in the rainforests of Isabela, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao. The average Philippine eagle has a 76 centimeter highly arched, powerful bill. It stands about one meter in height and creates its nests in large trees about 30 meters from the ground. It feeds on large snakes, hornbills, civet cats, flying lemurs, and monkeys – which is why it’s also called the monkey-eating eagle. This eagle is in danger of extinction with an estimated population of only 100 to 300 today.
Flying lemurs are one of the most distinct creatures on Earth. Although it does not have wings, it can glide across 100 meters of space in a single leap. It moves around at night, it’s head resembling a dog while it’s body is similar to the flying squirrel of Canada. Around the world it’s known as the colugo or flying lemur. People in Mindanao call it “kagwang”. According to zoologists, though called a Flying Lemur, It doesn’t fly and is not a lemur. The average kagwang weighs from 1 to 1.7 kilograms and ranges in length from 14 to 17 inches. Its head is wide with small ears and big eyes. Its tail is 12 inches long connected by a membrane stretching from forelimbs to tail. This enables the kagwang to glide 100 meters or more to escape predators like the Philippine Eagle.
This endangered species endemic to the Philippines is found in the southeastern part of the archipelago particularly in the provinces of Bohol, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao Philippines. The Philippine Tarsier, also known as “mawmag” in Cebuano/Visayan is a tiny animal only about 4 to 6 inches in height. Being so small, it is difficult to discover. The average adult is about the size of a human fist and will fit very comfortably in the human hand. Its eyes are fixed and not able to move, but it is able to rotate its head 180 degrees. It’s large eyes are disproportionate to its head and body, but are perfect for night vision since they are nocturnal. The Tarsier is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest eyes on a mammal. They can be found clinging vertically to trees and are capable of leaping from branch to branch. They feed on live insects, spiders, small crustaceans, as well as small lizards and birds.
Philippine Bamboo Bat
The Philippines has at least 56 species of bats. In other parts of the country, several bat species are now believed to be extinct.The smallest bat in the world, belonging to the vespertilionid family is the Philippine Bamboo Bat. It is only about 1 1/2 inches in length and has a wingspan of 15 cm. It only weighs about 1/20 ounce.
Philippine Mouse Deer
The Philippine Mouse Deer is the worlds smallest hoofed mammal. Its home is the Balabac Island, south of Palawan. Known by locals as Pilandok (Tragulas Nigricans), this little animals stands only about 40 centimeters at shoulder level. Contrary to its name, Pilandok is not a member of the deer family. The male species use large tusk-like canine teeth on its upper jaw for self-defense; in the same way a deer uses its antlers.
Know in Southeast Asia as binturong, the Palawan Bearcat is niether a bear nor a cat and is a species all its own. Besides Palawan this species can also be found in Borneo, Burma, and Vietnam. Its head and body measure 61 to 96 centimeters in combined length while its tail is almost as long. It weighs 9 to 14 kilograms and can live up to 20 years. Its thick black fur is used by hunters for making clothes and caps. It is usually found awake at night searching for food, using its tail to climb trees where it hides in the leaves.