Real-life Furbys Discovered in Indonesia

I had Furby’s when I was younger, now it appears they have found the real thing in Indonesia.

I’ve read elsewhere that this is not a new discovery as people have seen these creatures in The Philippines for years. It does state in the article that they haven’t seen this species in Indonesia for more than 70 years. Either way, its great to see the Furby’s getting the attention they deserve once again!


Credit: Hasbro


A primate species that looks like a living, breathing version of the Furby electronic toy has been found alive in the forested highlands of an Indonesian island for the first time in more than 70 years, scientists announced Tuesday.

Three specimens of the pygmy tarsier, a nocturnal creature about the size of a small mouse, were trapped and tracked this summer on Mount Rorekatimbo in Lore Lindu National Park in Central Sulawesi, Texas A&M University reported.

Texas A&M anthropologist Sharon Gursky-Doyen, leader of the expedition, said the tarsiers were found on mountainsides above 6,000 feet (1,800 meters) in elevation, amid damp, dangerous terrain. “I actually broke my fibula walking around there,” she told

Texas A&M

Credit: Texas A&M

They have the distinctive, big-eyed look often associated with Furbys, gremlin-like talking toys that were popular in the late 1990s. Compared with the robotic Furbys, however, the real animals’ dimensions are seriously downsized: They typically measure less than 4 inches (105 mm) from head to tail, with most of that length being tail. They weigh less than 2 ounces. And unlike Furbys, they hardly ever vocalize.

Before this year, only three specimens had ever been collected, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Two were found in 1916 and 1930. The third was a dead pygmy tarsier that Indonesian scientists found in a rat trap on Mount Rorekatimbo in 2000. That motivated primatologists to intensify their search for a live specimen of the species, “but none of them were able to find it,” Gursky-Doyen said.

Gursky-Doyen specializes in the behavior and conservation of nonhuman primates, and has been trapping other species of tarsiers for years. “I truly believe that the difference is my skill in trapping,” she said.

She and her colleagues deployed about 276 mist nets on the mountain’s forested slopes to capture the three pygmy tarsiers. They then attached radio collars to the animals’ necks and monitored their activity for weeks. Gursky-Doyen said she and one of her graduate students, Nanda Grow, are drafting a research paper based on their observations.

There are plenty of questions to be answered: For example, unlike nearly all other primate species, pygmy tarsiers have claws instead of nails on their fingers. Other clawed primates, such as marmosets and tamarins, are thought to have adapted to grip onto trees or dig out insects for food. Why did pygmy tarsiers follow a similar evolutionary path?

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28 Comments on “Real-life Furbys Discovered in Indonesia”

  1. Hi Sharon,

    I am a producer with ABC Radio Australia in Melbourne. We broadcast in Indonesia (along with the rest of the Asia Pacific), and I wonder if you’d be interested in doing a five-minute radio interview on your experiences with the tarsier? We do quite a bit of science coverage on our main current affairs program, Connect Asia, and it sounds like a great discovery.

    Please drop me a line at your earliest opportunity.

    Best wishes
    Corinne Podger
    ABC Radio Australia
    Tel: 61-3-9626 1874

  2. Diana Says:

    to me this doent look like what people say it looks like. come on furbys have big ears the Pygmy tarsiers doent. the furby has a beek the Pygmy tarsiers doent. the furby has no hands the Pygmy tarsiers does come on guys really!

  3. Verna B Says:

    Hi Sharon,
    i hope this message reaches you, ive been trying to find an email address that i can contact you regarding the tarsiers. They are actually very common here in the Island of Bohol, Philippines. It is actually a tourist attraction and almost every zoo here has several in captivity. They are actually known to be suicidal according to the locals. If you touch them or keep them in a prison it will kill inself by banging its head against the wall or anything. I dont know if they are endangered or not but we in the Philippines probably dont know that. hope this reaches you and helps.

  4. William Says:

    If you wish to study and check the life and behaviour of Tarsier you must visit Philippines particularly BOHOL and you will get an experience of a lifetime with them. The province of Bohol is taking care of this primate and been an attraction for tourist and scientist like you.

  5. Anne Says:

    Hello Sharon,

    Just wondering,have you ever been to Bohol, Philippines?because if you havent been there I think you should check out a Tarsier farm there,these tarsiers has been one of the famous tourist attraction in our country for years so its not true that its been gone for decades and its not extinct. I have actually seen them last august 2008 when i went for a holiday in Bohol,THEY are cute and harmless,i have a pic of them with me. If you try to check the BUZZ up section of yahoo where your story was posted there are lots of people who commented on the misleading story. It appeared amazing to you guys who found it but we Filipino’s who knew all about tarsier think of it as a shame on the scientist and researcher’s part. There’s millions of people that reads articles in yahoo and theres millions of filipinos and other people who have visited philippines and actually saw these tarsiers. I think you guys should do another research about it.

  6. Emerson Says:

    i was wondering why it says discovered after 85 years only in indonesia, when there’s a lot of these tarsier in bohol, philippines for so many years.

  7. Tony Says:

    Congratulations on your “Scientific Finding and Capture” which hails the end of a known species soon to become extinict because of your medling in their existense.

    I believe there where 4 Pygmy tarsiers now there’s 3 captured and 1 got away left in the Jungle to die? You should be ashamed of your self! Studying the species and releasing them is the most honorable scientific thing to do. Or perhaps you plan on discecting…or locking them up to run your scientific test? And gain glory in the scientific community? Imagine a member of your family snatched away?

    This will probably fall on deaf ears and you porbably wont post it~

  8. Rebekah Luza Says:

    Congratulations Sharon and Nanda on this wonderful discovery!

  9. Ria Says:

    Hi Sharon,
    That’s wonderful that you found tarsiers in Indonesia. But I urge you to correct articles about this “new discovery”. It really isn’t a new discovery as these tarsiers have existed on the island of Bohol in the Philippines for many years. They are not extinct . I saw them in January 2007 and would be happy to send you a picture if I can have your email address. I fed a cricket to one of the tarsiers. And when they are startled they can jump pretty far, from one tree branch to another. I’m sorry that this would take away credit from you for all your efforts in Indonesia but it is simply incorrect, unjustified and untrue to say that you rediscovered tarsiers after 85 years of thinking they were extinct.

  10. Ria Says:

    …unless this is a different species of tarsier than what is in the Philippines, then taking credit for its rediscovery would just be dishonest. I guess you’ll have to visit Bohol in the Philippines and look at the tarsiers there to see if the Indonesian tarsier and Philippine tarsier are the same.

  11. prazongoitia Says:

    It’s a shame that no one bothered to check facts. The tarsiers are common in Bohol, Philippines. I have pictures of them from a trip two years ago. To say these are long-lost primates sounds like media hype, and more of the same irresponsible “journalism” the US is known for.

  12. Linsy Says:

    Its So Cute!

  13. Alan Luck Says:

    The only threat to those poor creatures is YOU, you idiot.

  14. F Says:

    The species in the article is a different species from those in the Philippines, and the tarsiers that were captured were released afterward

  15. Nicole Xu Says:

    Hello Sharon.

    My name is Nicole. I’m an editor of English Digest Magazine, a reading material designed for English teaching for high school students in Taiwan.

    We’d like to introduce our students to pygmy tarsier in the February 2009 issue. Therefore, we need some pictures of pygmy tarsiers. Please kindly let me know if it’s okay for you to provide us with those pictures.

    Please reply via my personal email address at or

    Thank you.

    Best regards,
    Nicole Xu

    Editor, Nicole Xu

    AMC Group
    Fax: +886 2 2391-6778
    Tel: +886 2 2391-6999,ext. 120
    Add: 1F., No.17, Lane 113, Sec. 1, Heping E. Rd.,
    Da-an District, Taipei City 106, Taiwan (R.O.C.)

  16. Anonymous Says:

    I think that this is cruel to this species. Why would you want to mess with such a creature? Putting radio collars on them? What are yall trying to do to these animals? I know you’re excited and all but these are living breathing creatures and they don’t diserve this. These creatures could become extinct from you and all the other people involved in this. Leave them alone. Try and help them but don’t take them away from their homes. Don’t try to describe them as furby’s because they barely even look like them.

  17. laura Says:

    you are so mean are you trying to make these things commit suicide? well are you?are you planning on disecting them?
    Maby i should just come and disect your mum or dad ay?

  18. Great post, appreciated glancing over it. thx.

  19. lola Says:

    cool and cute:)

  20. lolzy Says:

    awwwwwwww look at it eyes i want them!!!:)lol

  21. this is so gute pleas get a pictuer of one by its self please and thank you.

  22. Thanks for sharing such a nice thinking, piece of
    writing is fastidious, thats why i have read it fully

  23. Hurrah, that’s what I was seeking for, what a data! existing here at this webpage, thanks admin of this web site.

  24. mere Says:

    es halgo maravilloso saber de estas criaturas de la naturaleza tan especiales y sorprendentes gracias

  25. shantal valentin ayque Says:

    mi tia me va a cmprar no de verdad sino de mentira

  26. loa furbys tambien hera reales y mi tia me ba a comprar uno y tambien ay que cuydarlos yo vi un furbi bueno eso es peluche
    y cuando vi a ese furby bueni yo lo vi en imajenes dije: ese furbi es real y yo me di cuenta que los furbys son diferentes . si quieren me puedes encontrar en el facebok ya ke sy una niña que proteje y que cuida todos los animales del mundo poreso:
    ¡¡¡¡¡cuiden a los animals plas

  27. hoy es el cumpleaños de los furbys

  28. LARIA Says:


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