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Tasmanian Devil

SARCOPHILUS HARRISII

Quick Facts

Scientific name: Sarcophilus harrisii
Length: Males: 2.1 feet (0.6 meters) Females: 1.9 feet (0.5 meters)
Weight: Males: 24 to 26 pounds (10 to 12 kilograms) Females: 14 to 16 pounds (6 to 7 kilograms)
Life span: 6 to 7 years (MLE)
Number of offspring: up to 4
Size at birth: the size of a kernel of corn
Gestation: 21 days
Conservation status: Tasmanian devils are endangered.

About

Where do the Tasmanian devils come from?

Tasmanian Devils live only on the island of Tasmania, an Australian state about 3/4 the size of Indiana. Tasmania has a temperature climate with variety of habitats including coastal scrub and dense forest. Devils can be found throughout the state. The map to the right shows the size of Tasmania and comparing it with Indiana.


What kind of animals are they?

Tasmanian devils are marsupials, so they’re related to kangaroos, koalas, and wombats. Like other marsupials, they carry their young in pouches after a very short pregnancy. Their pouches face backwards to keep dirt and debris out as they travel and forage.


Why are they called devils?

When devils gather at a large carcass to feed, they squabble and screech at each other. They also have large toothy jaws, bright red ears, dark fur, and nocturnal habits. This probably caused some fear in the European settlers in Tasmania, who came up with the name.


What do they eat?

Unlike kangaroos, Tasmanian devils primarily eat meat. They are scavengers, as well as opportunistic hunters. They eat anything from wallabies and possums to frogs, fish, insects, birds, and eggs. They will occasionally sample fruit or other plant material as well.


It’s baby time!

All baby marsupials, including Tasmanian devils, are called joeys. Baby Tasmanian devils are also sometimes called “imps”. They are able to raise up to four joeys at a time. At birth they are very tiny, about the size of a kernel of corn. They live in the mother’s pouch for 3 to 4 months. After leaving the pouch, the joeys will stay in a burrow or den for another 3 months, and then they will begin following their mother on her hunting expeditions, sometimes hitching a ride on her back.

 

Conservation

Learn more about our efforts, our conservation partners around the world, and the simple steps you can take to contribute.

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