At one time, Tasmanian devils were in danger of extinction due to persecution by settlers and destruction of forest habitat, but populations have since stabilized due to protective laws.
Tasmanian devils love water and are very good swimmers and will wade, splash about, sit, and lie down in water to stay cool.
Both males and female Tasmanian devils den in hollow logs, caves, or burrows, and make nests of bark, grass, and leaves, which they inhabit throughout the day.
Tasmanian devils have massive heads with well-developed jaw muscles and heavy molar teeth adapted for crushing bones and tearing through thick muscle and skin.
Although Tasmanian devils are not territorial, they stay within relatively small home ranges and can travel up to 16km a night in search of food.
Tasmanian devils typically acquire the Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) during the bite-filled breeding season as this transferrable cancer is passed through contact.
Tasmanian devils most often live to five-years-old in the wild, but they can live up to seven or eight years.
As in many dasyurids, Tasmanian devils store their fat in their tails.
Tasmanian devils are considered nuisance animals and have been considered livestock predators, although these scavengers take most of their large prey in the form of carrion.
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Tasmanian devils have a stocky, thick-set, squat build with a brownish, black pelage and white markings on the rump and chest.
Male Tasmanian devils compete for access to breeding females and temporarily subdue females while mating.
Tasmanian devils produce a strong odor when under stress, but when calm and relaxed they are not smelly.
The greatest recent threat to Tasmanian devils is Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) as populations have declined up to 80% due to the contagious cancer.
Unlike many other dasyurids, the Tasmanian devil’s marsupial pouch is completely closed when breeding.
Adult Tasmanian devils have few natural predators such as eagles, owls, and spotted-tailed quolls, although Thylacines (Thylacinus cynocephalus) may have preyed on them historically.
The body size of the Tasmanian devil varies considerably with diet, habitat, and age, and females tend to be slightly smaller than males.
Tasmanian devils are famous for their threatening gape or yawn, but this display is performed more from fear and uncertainty than from aggression.
The Tasmanian devil is an “Endangered” species due to food availability, competition with other devils and quolls, loss of habitat, persecution, vehicle strike, and Devil Facial Tumor Disease.
Tasmanian devils are usually solitary and not territorial, but may interact aggressively over food and follow a hierarchy in captivity.
Tasmanian devils are plagued by Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD), and are one of only seven species in the world that can contract a contagious cancer.
Tasmanian devils usually amble slowly with a characteristic gait but can gallop quickly with both hind feet together.
Although a Tasmanian devil can give birth to up to 40 young, only 4 can survive, with an average of 2-3, because of the limited number of mammae in her pouch.
Tasmanian devils are most numerous in coastal heath and rangeland areas where agricultural practices maintain a constant supply of carrion and also occur in open, dry schlerophyll forest and mixed schlerophyll-rainforest.
The Tasmanian devil makes a variety of fierce noises, from harsh coughs and snarls to high pitched screeches, especially when fighting.
Tasmanian devils are generally nocturnal, but they may be seen sunbathing during the day in quiet areas.
Because Tasmanian devils are marsupials, their young are born as external embryos, just the size of a grain of rice, and must find their way into the mother’s pouch to continue developing.
Almost all Tasmanian devils are devastated by a lethal, transferrable, cancer-like disease called Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) that grows tumors on the face until the creature starves to death.
The Tasmanian devil got its name after early European settlers heard mysterious, unearthly screams in the wild and referred to it as “The Devil.”
Tasmanian devils have keen senses of smell, sight, touch, and taste and communicate with a variety of vocalizations and physical cues.
Tasmanian devils are monestrous, mating February-May and giving birth most often in April after a gestation period of 21 days.
Currently, Tasmanian devils are found only in Tasmania, although fossil evidence suggests that they once occupied much of the Australian mainland.