the sound is hard to describe

It can be like a harsh cough. Or an angry hiccup. Or a sharp, shrill shriek. It all depends on what is being said and who is doing the talking. 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 world, on the island of Tasmania. It’s off Australia’s southeastern coast. You can find them in the wild there now. But their fate was uncertain 25 years ago. Tasmanian devils were victims of a mysterious cancer. In fact, they were on their way to extinction.






This Tasmanian devil has large cubs on her back.

To start, Tasmanian devils are marsupials. That’s a kind of mammal in which the young finish developing in their mother’s pouch. The kangaroo is another type of marsupial. A mother devil’s pouch helps her feed and protect her newborns, or imps. A mother can give birth to as many as
40 imps.
Yet, there is only space for four in her pouch, so only four can survive.

Newborn imps are the size of a raisin. They stay in their mother’s pouch for four months. After six months, they are ready to eat solid foods.

Tasmanian devils are scavengers. They eat carrion, or dead animals. Scavengers act as nature’s cleanup crew. They eat the dead animals before they pollute waterways.

Tasmanian devils eat dead animals.

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

Tasmanian devils are the largest meat-eating marsupials in the world. They will eat dead opossums and wombats.

Tasmanian devils are not picky eaters. They also will eat birds, lizards, frogs, and even dead farm animals. Strong necks hold up their skulls. Their skulls are unusually large in order to support their strong jaws.

Devils eat their prey completelybones, fur, and all. Look inside a devil’s mouth. You’ll see teeth for biting, teeth for tearing flesh, and teeth for crushing bone. Devils can bite down with the force of a tiger.

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. They live on their own.

2 years 

The devils are old enough to have their own young.

Adult life 

Devils in the wild usually live five to eight years.