The Sound is hard to describe

It can be like a harsh cough. Or an angry hiccup. Or a high-pitched shriek. It all depends on what is being said and who is doing the talking. A typical conversation can escalate quickly. Most of it is just noise and bluff, but when a Tasmanian devil “speaks,” it’s best just to listen.

You’d have to go a long way to hear a Tasmanian devil. They are found in only one part of the worldTasmania. It’s an island off Australia’s southeastern coast. And while you can find them in the wild there now, their fate was uncertain about 25 years ago. Tasmanian devils had fallen victim to a mysterious cancer that threatened to make them extinct. To understand their promising recovery, you have to understand a lot about this
strange animal.






This Tasmanian devil has large cubs on her back.

To start, Tasmanian devils are nocturnal. That means they are active at night. They are also marsupials. That’s a classification of mammal in which the young must finish developing in their mother’s pouch. You might know of another type of marsupial, the kangaroo. A mother devil’s pouch helps her feed and protect her newborns, which are called imps. A mother devil can give birth to as many as 40 imps. Yet, there is only space for four in her pouch, so only four can survive.

When the imps are born, they are the size of raisins. They stay in their mother’s pouch for four months. After six months, they are ready to begin eating solid foods. A Tasmanian devil’s diet may not sound very appetizing. They are scavengers, and they eat carrion, or dead animals. Sounds gross, but scavengers play a vital role in ecosystems. They act as nature’s
cleanup crew.

When animals die, their bodies decay. The rotting bodies smell bad and take up space. They can pollute waterways and attract flies and other insects. Scavengers can eat the dead animals before any of
this happens.

Tasmanian devils eat dead animals.

A Tasmanian devil's jaws can deliver a powerful bite!

As the largest meat-eating marsupials in the world, Tasmanian devils will often eat dead wallabies, opossums, and wombats.

They are not picky eaters. They also will eat birds, lizards, frogs, and even dead farm animals. They can eat up to 40 percent of their body weight at one time.

Strong necks hold up their skulls. Their skulls are unusually large for their bodies in order to support their strong jaws. Devils eat their prey completelybones, fur, and all. If you looked inside a devil’s mouth, you’d see teeth for biting, teeth for tearing flesh, and teeth made for crushing bone. Devils can bite down with great force. Devils can bite down with the force greater than a Bengal tiger’s bite.

From Imp to Devil!



At Birth

Each imp is the size of a raisin; four imps crawl to their mother’s pouch.

4 months

The imps are old enough to leave their mother’s pouch. They often ride on her back.

6 months

The imps stop drinking milk and begin eating solid food.

8 months

The young devils leave their mother to live alone.

2 years

The devils are old enough to have their own young. 

Adult Life

Devils in the wild usually live for five to eight years.