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Scientific Name: 
Sarcophilus harrisii
Phylum: 
Chordata
Species class: 
Mammalia
Order: 
Dasyuromorphia
Family: 
Dasyuridae
Genus: 
Sarcophilus
Species: 
harrisii
Status: 
Endangered
Population Trend: 
Decreasing
Quick Facts

Life Span: 6- 8 years in wild.

Size: Body length: 55-65cms; Tail length 30-25cms

Weight: Average 6-9 kgs. Large males can weigh up to 12kgs

Fun Facts

Tasmanian devils are the largest living carnivorous marsupial.

Their Latin name -Sarcophilus means ‘flesh lover’ (Sarco – flesh, philus –lover)

Not Devils at all!: The devil’s screams, pink mouths, and big teeth startled the early settlers during night time and this is how they got the word ‘devil’, in their common name.

Jaw: A Tasmanian devil’s jaw is 4 times stronger than a domestic dog. This means that a 10kg devil would have the same bite as a 40kg German Shepherd dog!

Swim: Devils love to swim!

Bush cleaners: By eating dead animals Tasmanian devils effectively keep the bushland clean, removing carcases before they rot and attract blow flies.

Distribution Map: 

Famous for its spine-chilling screeches, the Tasmanian Devil is an Australian icon and is the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial. Once found across Australia, Tasmanian Devils are thought to have become extinct on the mainland before European settlement due to the introduction of dingoes.

They have a stocky body, black fur with white markings, a broad head with powerful jaws and large strong teeth. Capable of eating up to 10% of their own body weight of food a day, they will eat almost any meat they find. Despite their name and reputation, devils are shy and tend to scavenge on dead animals rather than kill their own prey.

Early Europeans trapped and killed Tasmanian Devils for over 100 years, believing that they would eat their farm animals. Devil numbers plummeted until 1941 when they became legally protected.

Devil numbers gradually increased from 1941, until the emergence of a new threat: Devil Facial Tumour Disease. This contagious cancer is spreading through devil populations in Tasmania and is threatening the species with extinction.

At Taronga:

At Taronga Zoo we hold 6 breeding Tasmanian devils - 2 females and 4 males. We also have 4 juveniles born at the zoo in March last year. Currently, the juveniles are housed together at the Tasmanian devil Breeding Facility in the human impact exhibit.

Region: 
Source: 
www.iucnredlist.org
Year assessed: 
2008