Tasmanian Devil

From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary

Tasmanian devil

got its name by early European settlers because of -spine chilling screeches -black coat -when angry ears go red -opens mouth when scared or uncertain to reveal many teeth -Fierce noises used in defense including harsh coughs, snarls and growling yelps

worlds largest living carnivorous marsupial nocturnal

size of small dog -strong stocky body -large broad head -short thick tail

black fur with white markings on chest and rump -some may seem entirely black

males weigh 9-12 kg females weigh 7-9 kg

travel -in dense vegetation it forms trails -running, hind feet kept together in hopping action (like a bunny)

Great climbers and swimmers, especially the youngsters

breeding in march young born in April -20-40 young are born -only four tits are present on the mothers belly -average number to survive are 2-3 -mother eats dead ones -For a long time it was thought that only 2-3 were born, but that was because it was recorded afer the mother had already eaten the rest -young remain in pouch until august -young remain in den from Aug. - Jan. -fully grown at 2-3 yrs of age -Life expectancy 5 yrs. (can live up to 8)

habitat and distribution

-Only found in tasmania once found on mainland of australia found all over the island of tasmania, but mostly in eucalypt forests and coastal woodlands dingo invasion responsible for extinction on mainland

devil livs in burrows also found resting in hollow logs builds nests for shelter in the day time May be found sunbathing for vitamin d during evening hours in quiet places

Not strictly territorial occupy home Range of 8-20 square km home ranges overlap with other devils home ranges travels 8km in one night


scavenger -can quickly locate dead animals with smell finds carcasses in forests, along roadsides along beaches (will eat dead fish) new food sources on range lands, dead sheep,(farmers priorly thought that they killed the sheep, because they were allways found at the carcasses, so they were hunted, being paid a bounty of 35 cents for every female and 25 cents for every dead male) devil eats walllabies, small mammaals, birds reptiles amphibians and insects

bite is 10 times stronger than that of the strongest dog ever measured

individuals eat up to 3-4 kg in one night, sometimes up to half of their own weight! Eats whole animal with fur and bones because of special enzymes to help break down this roughage, and an extra hard layer of enamel

When devils unite at a food source, they have been observed eating the entire animal (even horses and cows), only leaving the skull and tail.

helps keep bushlands clean and free of rotting dead animals

Protected species since june 1941

see also : [[devil Facial tumor Disease]] (newest threat to the survival of this extraordinary species)