January 2019: Tasmanian Devil

Scientific Name Sarcophilus harrisii
Alternate Name Devil, Joey (Young), Purinina, Sarcophilus laniarius, Tassie Devil
Collective Name Litter (Young)
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Dasyuromorphia Dasyuridae Sarcophilus
Australia Forest, Shrubland, Grassland, Caves & Subterranean Habitats, Artifical/Terrestrial, Introduced Vegetation
30 cm. 12 in. 4-12 kg. 8-27 lb.
52-80 cm. 20-32 in. 5-9 yr.
Endangered Solitary Nocturnal
Decreasing Polygynandrous Carnivore
Fore Hind
2 Subspecies
S. h. dixonae S. h. harrisii

The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is the largest, native, mammalian predator on Tasmania and the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial. This robust, nocturnal marsupial is endemic to the island of Tasmania, part of the Australian continent. The devil was given its name when early explorers of Tasmania heard its unique, devil-like shrieks in the bush and discovered the canine-like creature with massive jaws and fangs. These powerful jaws and teeth allow the efficient, carnivorous scavengers and hunters to eat even the bones and fur of their carrion prey. The Tasmanian devil is listed as “Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species mostly due to habitat loss, overhunting, and a lethal, transferrable cancer-like disease called devil facial tumor disease that grows tumors on the face until the creature starves to death.

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