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WHAT IS THE TASMANIAN DEVIL?


The Tasmanian Devil is actually a marsupial and not a dog like most people think. It gets its name from the Island of Tasmania off the coast of Australia where it is from. It has a very bad temper and makes chilling screech sounds that can be heard miles away the early locals used to call it the devil because of the awful sound it makes. It is also the largest surviving carnivorous marsupial in Australia.



Males are larger then females. Males weigh up to 12 kilograms and are 30 cm tall at the shoulder. Devils mate in March if the weather permits and the young are born in early April after a short 21 day gestation period. Only 2 or 3 yound survive out of about 6 babies. Only the strongest devils get the 4 spots in the mothers pouch which greatly improves their chances of survival. The parents make their den in a hollow log most often and this is where they rear the pups.














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The average lifespan of the tasmanian devil is anywhere between seven and eight years. The Devil feeds on small birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and the dead livestock. The devil is also nocturnal and only hunts at night. It sleeps in its den during the day. It roams about 16 km from its den which is a great distance for a small animal like this. Young devils can also climb trees. Devils were a nuisance to the early European settlers of Hobart Town, raiding the poultry yards, but were soon driven away to more remote areas of the island. In 1830 the Van Diemen's Land Co. introduced a bounty scheme to remove devils, as well as Tasmanian tigers and wild dogs, from their northwest properties: 2/6 (25 cents) for male devils and 3/6 (35 cents) for females. Devils ate animals caught in snares, and were believed to take lambs and sheep. For over a century they were trapped and poisoned and became very rare.

 

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