the sound is hard to describe

It can be like a harsh cough. Or an angry hiccup. Or a sharp shriek. It all depends on what is being said and who is doing the talking. When a Tasmanian devil “speaks,” it’s best to listen.

Tasmanian devils are found in only one part of the world, on the island of Tasmania. It’s off Australia’s southeastern coast. Devils were once on their way to extinction, victims of a strange cancer. Today, they are making a recovery. How? Find out!






This Tasmanian devil has large cubs on her back.

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

Newborn imps are the size of raisins. 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 dead animals, called carrion. They will eat dead wallabies, opossums, and wombats.

Tasmanian devils eat dead animals.

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

Tasmanian devils are not picky eaters. They will also eat birds, lizards, frogs, and even dead farm animals.

Strong necks hold up their skulls. Their skulls are large to support their strong jaws. Devils eat their prey with its bones, fur, and all. Their teeth are built for biting, tearing, and crushing.

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. They 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
Wild devils can live up to eight years.