If you have seen Looney Tunes, the first thing you think of when you hear the name Tasmanian devil is Taz, the maniacal, whirling, always angry, hungry cartoon character. But Tasmanian devils are real and are aggressive like the cartoon Taz.
Facts about Tasmanian Devil
These famously feisty mammals have a black or coarse brown fur coat and a stocky sketch that gives them the impression of a baby bear. Most have light spots on their sides or rear end and a white stripe or patch on their chest. They have large front legs and shorter hind legs, giving them a timbering, piglike run. The Tasmanian devil is the world’s most giant carnivorous marsupial, extending 30 inches in length and weighing up to 25 pounds. However, its size will vary extensively depending on where it lives and the accessibility of food. Its oversized head houses strong, muscular jaws and sharp teeth that can deliver one of the most powerful land animals’ bites.
Tasmanian devils are entirely carnivorous, enduring on small prey and often feasting on dead animals, called carrion. The most notable feature of the Tasmanian devil, though, is its aggressive personality. When bullied, a devil will jump at its attacker, howl, shriek, bare its teeth, and often spin around in circles like the Looney Tunes character Taz. Devils will also display these responses when trying to join in as other devils are fighting for a mate or eating an animal carcass. They are nocturnal animals, spending their days alone in caves, hollow logs, or burrows, and rising at night to feed. They use their superior sense of sight and smell to avoid predators and locate prey and carrion. They love birds, frogs, insects, and fish. However, they are greedy eaters and will consume everything—including bones, organs, and even hair. When they are well-fed, their tails puff with stocked fat.
They once settled in mainland Australia. The Tasmanian Devil is considered to have become extinct on the Australian mainland around 410 years ago, and fossils have proven this. The introduction of Asian Dogs is a probable explanation for the devil’s mainland extinction. Tasmanian devils are now located only in Tasmania Island. Their Tasmanian range includes the entire island, although they are partial to forests and coastal scrublands.
Tasmanian devil mamas give birth after about 21 days of pregnancy to around 25 tiny young babies. These raisin-size, hairless babies crawl up the mother’s fur and into her pouch. However, the mother has only four nipples, so only a few babies survive. After about four months, infants rise from the bag, are usually detached by the sixth month, and on their own by the eighth.