Scientific classification: The Tasmanian devil is classified as Sarcophilus harrisii.
The Tasmanian Devil are carnivorous and scavenging marsupial that lives on the island of Tasmania, Australia. The Tasmanian devil is named for the shrieking and groaning sounds it makes. The noises terrified early European settlers who named it the Devil. Fossil evidence indicates that the animal was widely distributed on the nearby Australian mainland as recently as 600 years ago. Scientists believe that the dingo, baby tasmanian devil introduced to the mainland by Aboriginal Australians, became a predator of the Tasmanian devil. This predation led to the extinction of the Tasmanian devil on the mainland.
Description of the Tasmanian Devil
The Tasmanian devil is 52 to 80 cm (20 to 31 in) in head and body length, with a tail 23 to 30 cm (9 to 12 in) long. The adult weighs 4.1 to 11.8 kg (9 to 26 lb). Its pelt is blackish or brownish, except for white markings commonly present on the rump or below the neck. The Tasmanian devil is nocturnal and stays in burrows or in dense brush during the day. At night, baby tasmanian devil it may prey on small mammals, lizards, or wallabies. The Tasmanian devil is primarily a scavenger and will eat whatever is available, including carrion. With its powerful jaws and teeth, the Tasmanian devil can devour almost an entire animal, including the animal’s bones.
Other animals native to the Tasmania
The Australian copperhead, a venomous member of the cobra family. Dangerous but nonaggressive, it averages 1.5 m (5 ft) in length and is found in Tasmania and southern Australia. The copperhead of India and southeast Asia is a nonvenomous rat snake
The bandicoot is generally nocturnal and hides during the day in a nest, hollow log, or crevice. Most species are omnivorous and eat insects, baby tasmanian devil small mammals, or plants. Others, like the rabbit bandicoots, or bilbies, prefer a carnivorous diet, including small mammals and lizards.
Conservation of the Tasmanian Devil
In 2005 Tasmania’s minister of environment listed the Tasmanian devil as a threatened species because of an epidemic that began in the 1990s. Known as devil facial tumor disease, the contagious illness is characterized by tumors that occur near the nose and mouth, baby tasmanian devil. The tumors become so large that the animal is unable to eat, and dies from starvation. By early 2008 half of the population had been killed by the epidemic.
Tasmanian officials have quarantined a small number of animals to keep them free of the disease and to use as a breeding population in the event that the epidemic cannot be controlled. Scientists do not know what causes the disease. The leading theory is that the tumors originated as a random mutation and were transmitted by biting, which occurs during mating season and in fighting over food. Because Tasmanian devils are nearly identical genetically, their immune systems may be nearly identical and therefore equally unable to respond to the tumor infections. In 2008, however, researchers announced that one captive Tasmanian devil appears to have natural defenses against the disease, baby tasmanian devil. The finding gave scientists hope that methods could be developed to save the species from extinction in the wild.