Skip to main content

Tasmanian Devil

The Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is a frequently misunderstood, yet absolutely fascinating animal. They are the largest of the carnivorous marsupials (of which there are very few species) and are now located only on the island of Tasmania. Devils once had a range that encompassed all of Australia, but the spread of the Dingos led to competition for food. Because Tasmania is separated from Australia by the 150mile wide Bass strait, Dingos never crossed and the Devils continued to exist there.

(Image Source)
Of course, their Tasmanian existence was thanks in no part to humans, who killed off the animals, thinking (erroneously) that they were a threat to their livestock. They became a protected species in 1941, but the population is now far from genetically diverse. Tasmanian Devils grow to 30 inches long and weigh around 25lbs.

Tasmanian Devils were so named for their crabby, aggressive behavior (especially around food and mating time) and the absolutely bizarre sounds that they make. They are solitary, non-monogamous, nocturnal animals, and live in burrows. Devils eat a wide variety of other creatures, though they typically only hunt things that are smaller than themselves. They also consume carrion, and thanks to their powerful teeth and jaws, are able to completely consume an animal. Devils are at their most aggressive when feeding, as it is a time that the normally solitary creatures come together and (attempt to) share a meal.
(Image Source)

As previously stated, Tasmanian Devils are marsupials. Females are pregnant for an extremely short amount of time, and will give birth to a few dozen raisin-sized infants. Unfortunately, the female only has four teats, and so only the first four young to make it into her pouch will have any chance of survival. The young will latch on and remain in the pouch for several months. They will come out of the pouch at about four months and be weaned by six.

Wild Devil populations are now experiencing a horrific epidemic that is wiping out the species. Devil Facial Tumor Disease is a contagious cancer that causes larger tumors to form on their heads, making them unable to eat. It is believed that the disease is able to spread so easily because of the lack of genetic diversity within the population. DFTD free populations are being quarantined and captive breeding programs are trying to keep the species going to prevent extinction.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Bornean Orangutan

The Bornean Orangutan is one of two extant Orangutan species in the world. It is the third largest primate (after Gorillas) and is the largest primarily tree-dwelling animal in the world. Males are substantially larger than females, and average at around 165lbs. Bornean Orangutans are largely solitary. A handful might live within a small range but they will seldom interact with one another. Males and females only meet up to breed, which happens only once every several years. A young Orangutan will stay with it's mother for about five years, and the females tend to go about eight years between births. That is the longest interim period of any animal! Sadly, the Bornean Orangutans are in a lot of trouble. They need large forests in order to thrive, and deforestation and habitat degradation has left many homeless. They are also hunted for meat and for traditional medicines. Conservation areas are being established to help these guys in the wild, and it is believed that there are a

Four!

For anyone who was counting, yesterday was our birthday-- four years! Four years filled with animals from A to Z, more than 1,100 of them! I can't thank my readers enough, it's been wonderful! And in celebration of that milestone... I'm taking a break. Hopefully not forever, but for a little bit at least. In the mean time I plan on getting a new layout out, along with some updates to some of the older articles. I'll post updates here and on the Facebook page, I'm also brainstorming some new animal-related projects, so keep an eye out! Thanks again for four awesome years!

10 Years?!

My goodness! It's been 6 years since I went on hiatus, and now more than 10 years since AaD was born, and what a world we've moved in to! Animal a Day is coming back- but in the meantime, check us out on Facebook, for your daily dose of #BIRDNEWS