The Tasmanian Devil

"A Face like a Puppy and a Noise like a Hyena!"

Yep! Thats our Tassie Devil, but watch him as he can be nasty

The Tasmanian Devil

Since the presumed extinction of the Tasmanian Tiger, the Tasmanian Devil now holds the mantle of being Australia's largest carnivorous marsupial. It grows up to 750mm long and weighs up to 12 kilos, quite heavy for it's size, and lives for up to 6 years though they have been known to live longer in captivity. Recently they have been decimated by a new disease that being contagious has threatened it's population and scientists are busy trying to work out what they can do to save the hairy little critter. Thankfully it apears to have not affected the animals in the wildernes of the north-west part of the island. It used to also inhabit the mainland but was hunted as it was falsely accused of killing livestock. Also the introduction of foxes and particularly asian dogs have dealt it a death blow.

It has a strong sense of smell, and being nocturnal also has good eyesight. It also has a strong bite, and can be damaging once it latches onto a capture. The name 'Devil' is attributed commonly to both its appearance and the strange and quite eerie screeching sound make mainly at night as well as the lunatic-like ferocity with which it fights to defend what is its own.

Yet they can be quite tame and can be held and patted like a koala, but like a koala can also be very dangerous if provoked.

It is mostly a lone animal but there can often be seen a group of them fighting over a large carcass and they devour their meal in total, including even hair and bones.

Unlike most marsupials it gives birth to a couple of dozen small babies, few of which actually grow to crawl into their mothers pouch at around 3 months old. After 6 months they are weaned and quite quickly, after just another few weeks, are left to their own devices.

                        PHOTO GERRY PEARCE (Australian Wildlife dot.com)

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