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36 Awesome Tasmanian Devil Facts You Must Learn

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A Brief Overview of Tasmanian Devil:

Tasmanian devils are carnivorous marsupials, which are a type of mammals that have a pouch in which they carry their incompletely developed young, and they are native to Australia. Although most marsupials are herbivorous, this group of sly creatures is not one of them.

Tasmanian Devil Facts

1. The scientific name of Tasmanian devil is Sarcophilus harrisii, which means “meat-loving devil,” because of its fondness for meat. It is named after Pierre Boitard Harris, the scientist who discovered them in 1841, and translates as “Harris’s Meat Lover” in English.

2. A coarse brown or black coat covers the body of these mammals. The coat and their stocky profile gives them the look of a baby bear. 

3. Light spots on their sides or back are common, as is a white stripe or patch across their chest. 

4. Light spotson their sides or back are common, as is a white stripe or patch across their chest.  They walk with a lumbering, piglike gait because they have short rear legs and long front legs.

5. The Tasmanian devil is the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial. 

6. It reaches 30 inches in length and weighs up to 26 pounds, although its size will vary greatly depending on where it lives and the availability of food.

tasmanian devil facts

7. Its massive head is crammed with razor-sharp teeth and powerful, muscular jaws that can deliver one of the most powerful bites (1200 pounds per square inch) of any mammal pound for pound.

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8. The Tasmanian devil is a carnivore that can eat both live and dead prey, making it a versatile predator. The Tasmanian devil’s diet is frequently comprised of fish, birds, snakes, and insects.

9. The Tasmanian devil is not picky about what it eats; once it has captured its prey, it will consume it whole, including bones and fur. On a daily basis, these animals consume between 5 and 10% of their own body weight.

10. Tasmanian devils travel enormous distances each night in their hunt of food, sometimes traversing as much as 10 miles.

11. The Tasmanian devil has excellent vision and a strong sense of smell, which he uses to hunt for prey.

12. The tail of the Tasmanian devil is where the fat is stored. The tail of healthy animals is thick, whereas the tail of diseased animals is limp and skinny.

13. Tasmanian devils are not particularly fast runners (they can only reach speeds of 15 miles per hour), but they are capable of running for long periods of time (one hour without resting). Furthermore, they are fantastic climbers and swimmers, as well.

14. Females are fertile only once a year, between March and April, when they become pregnant which means when they are ready to wean, there will be plenty of food available.

15. During the breeding season, a large number of males will compete for the attention of a female. When she is ready, a female devil will mate with the dominant devil in the surrounding area.

16. Because the dominant male can change throughout the breeding season, she may mate with a large number of different males. It is also likely that the males will move on in search of another female.

17. Gestation lasts only 21 days on average. Up to 20 young, known as joeys, pups, or imps, will be born as a result of this mating process. These make their way up the mother’s stomach and into the pouch that faces backwards.

18. Because she only has four teats, only four of them will be able to survive. They attach themselves to a teat and remain attached there for the next 100 days.

19. When the imps are born, their skin is pink, their ears are closed over, and their eyes are a small spot.

20. A newborn Tasmanian devil is about a rice grain’s size when it is born.

21. After 16 days, the eyelids are visible, followed by the whiskers at 17 days, and finally the lips at 20 days. They begin to squeak for the first time at 8 weeks of age, despite the fact that their lips do not open until the 10th or 11th week of age.

22. The eyes will not begin to open after three months but their eyelashes are formed nearly around 50 days. After 105 days, they will no longer be attached to the teat on a continuous basis.

23. After 105 days, they leave the pouch and move into the den. They stay in the den for the next three months at this point. When they are ready to leave the den, they will ride on the back of their mother. They begin to wean themselves off of breast milk when they are about six months old.

24. It is estimated that nearly three-fifths of the devils do not survive to adulthood. All of those who do so will be self-sufficient by the age of nine months.

25. In the past, sexual maturity was considered to be reached at the age of two. However, as a result of Devil Facial Tumor Disease, they are now reproducing at a young age, as young as one year old.

autralian tasmanian devil

26. It has a lifespan of nearly five years in the wild.

27. They are labeled as nocturnal animals (meaning they are active at night), but they can also be found active during the day.

28.When faced with a threat, the Tasmanian devil opens its jaws widely to express its fear and unease. Additionally, in high-stress situations, it will emit a pungent odor in order to scare away potential predators.

29. Tasmanian devils are solitary animals who frequently engage in territorial battles with other males for their territory. Tasmanian devil challenges the opponent with a sharp sneezing sound prior to the fight.

30.Tasmanian devils, which were once common throughout Australia, are now restricted to Tasmania, an island state of Australia.

31. Their range encompasses the entirety of the island, though they prefer coastal scrublands and rainforests over other habitat types.

32. Biologists believe that the extinction of the species on the mainland nearly around 400 years ago may have been caused by the introduction of Asian dogs, also known as dingoes, increase in human population, and climate change.

33. Tens of thousands of Tasmanian devils have been killed due to a catastrophic illness discovered in the mid-1990s. This rapidly spreading condition, known as Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD), is a rare and contagious cancer. 

34. Large lumps form around the animal’s mouth and head, which makes it difficult for the animal to eat. The animal eventually succumbs to starvation and dies.

35. As a result of this deadly cancer, the Tasmanian devil’s population has decreased from 140,000 to as few as 20,000 individuals.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed this species as endangered in 2008.

36. In Australia, the Tasmanian devil is a protected species.

Sources 1, 2, 3

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