Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tasmanian Devil Facts and How You Can Save Them

I confess that I didn't know much about the Tasmanian devil until I started researching for this post, perhaps this is because outside of Australia, the only Tasmanian devils are found in the Copenhagen Zoo. This is due to Australian laws, but what I discovered is truly fascinating.

First of all, did you know that the Tasmanian devil is the world's largest surviving carnivorous marsupial. Quite the mouthful! The Tasmanian devil is also known for a less dubious honour. It has terrible body odour when agitated. Some say it rivals the skunk. Note to self, if you see a Tasmanian devil do not irritate it.

Also interesting are the vocalizations of the Tasmanian devil which is often described as a screech. Listen to a Tasmanian devil. I can't say I've ever heard a sound like that before.

Why Tasmanian Devils Need Our Help

Tasmanian devils are only found in Australia in the state of Tasmania. They are an endangered species. It was believed they hunted livestock so Tasmanian devils were shot for what they might do, when in fact they are opportunistic feeders, feeding mostly on carrion (animals that are already dead). Fortunately it is now illegal to kill Tasmanian devils, but they now face a rather unusual threat - the strange devil facial tumour disease, an aggressive parasitic cancer that is capable of wiping out between 20 -100% of Tasmanian devil populations.

Help Save Tasmanian Devils
Source and photo credit of Tasmanian Devil with devil facial tumour disease: Wikipedia
Photo of Tasmanian Devil courtesy of: themachobox