All about the Tasmanian Devil


This episode is about the Tasmanian Devil.

No not the Looney Tunes one the real one. 





     This ONE!





The Tasmanian devil is a carnivorous marsupial (pouched mammal), and until recently it was only found on the island of Tasmania, but it has been reintroduced to New South Wales in mainland Australia. 

  • Size of a small dog. This is the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial living today.
  • Stocky and muscular build.
  • Black fur.
  • And very smelly.

  Females average four breeding seasons in their life, giving birth to 20 to 30 young after three weeks of gestation. The newborns are pink and have no fur. 

Only a few newborn survive. They are ejected from the pouch around 100 days after birth and are independent around nine months. 

If they survive their first year, a devil’s lifespan in the wilderness is seven-eight years. Pound for pound, it has the strongest bite of any mammalian carnivorous mammal. It’s powerful enough to crush metal with it’s jaws. 

Tasmanian devils eat only meat: they hunt birds, snakes, and other mammals up to the size of small kangaroos, but they will also eat carrion. The Tasmanian devil can eat up to 40 percent of its body weight. 

Tasmanian devils are in serious trouble because of a lethal cancer called devil facial tumor disease. The cancer is transmissible when they bite each other as part of a bizarre mating ritual or while squabbling over food. This cancer has killed 80 percent of the devils. Until recently, it was spreading very fast. But geneticists (the study of genes and the science of heredity) have now calculated that each infected devil transmits tumor cells to just one or fewer devils. 

“This means the disease may disappear over time. Understanding the links between host behavior and infectious disease may help reveal new insights that can help devils and other wildlife facing disease threats,” said Vanessa Ezenwa, a disease ecologist at the University of Georgia, Athens. 

Warner Bros., which owns Taz, and CNN founder Ted Turner, who started the Cartoon Network, have helped fund the fight against the disease.

The government stepped in to protect the Tasmanian devil in 1941. In 2009, the Tasmanian devil was listed on the endangered list because of the contagious cancer that has wiped out most of the devil’s wild population. 

Scientists fear the devils could be extinct in the wild in 20 years. It is estimated there are as few as 10,000 now. The San Diego Zoo is one of only a few zoos in the United States that cares for Tasmanian devils.

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