El demon of Tasmania (Sarcophilus harrisii), also know as Tasmanian Devil It is a small marsupial with rat features, sharp teeth, and thick black or brown hair. As tiny as it is, don't be fooled - this creature has a fighting style that is quite intimidating.

We can appreciate the coat of the Tasmanian devil.

Species

There are two subspecies: Sarcophilus harrisii dixonae y Sarcophilus harrisii harrisii

Taxonomy

Here is the taxonomy of Tasmanian devils, according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS):

  • Reino: Animalia
    • Subreino: Bilateria
      • Infrakingdom: Deuterostomy
  • Wire: Chordata
    • Subphile: Vertebrates
    • Infrafilo: Gnathostomata
  • Superclass: Tetrapoda
    • Class: Mammalia
      • Subclass: Theria
      • CRIME: Metatheria
  • Order: Dasyuromorphia
  • Family: Dasyuridae
    • Subfamily: Dasyurinae
  • Tribe: Dasyurini
  • Gender: Sarcophilus
  • Species: Sarcophilus
    • Subspecies: Sarcophilus harrisii dixonae, Sarcophilus harrisii harrisii

Features

Tasmanian devils are the largest carnivorous marsupial. They have a body length between 52 and 80 cm, a tail length between 23 and 30 cm, and weigh between 4 and 12 kg (8,75 - 26 pounds).

Their fur is black with a white patch on the throat and spots on the sides and rump. They have a robust build with an extremely large head. Their jaw is strong and they have heavy molar teeth that are well suited to their diet.

They store fat in the tail, so an unhealthy animal usually has a thin tail. Their long whiskers help them locate prey when searching for food in the dark or help them detect when other demons are nearby during feeding. When shaken they can produce a pungent odor that is strong enough to rival that of a skunk.

Tasmanian devils have good senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste. They have a variety of vocalizations that they use to communicate, including a bone-chilling screech and aggressive growls, as well as physical gestures such as yawning and tail lifting.

The Tasmanian devil's front legs are longer than its hind legs, and although it is small, it has one of the most powerful bites in the animal world, due to its muscular jaw.

Although they are clumsy on land, Tasmanian devils are good tree climbers.

Size

The real Tasmanian devil does not look like the famous cartoon character. It is not the same size as humans, for example. Nor does it pass through its surroundings like a whirling tornado. The Tasmanian Devil measures between 51 and 79 centimeters and weighs only between 4 to 12 kilograms.

Behavior

The Tasmanian devil cartoon has one thing in common with the real creature: bad temper. When the devil feels threatened, she rages, growls, pounces, and shows her teeth. It also produces shrill screams that can seem very devilish. It may be because of this temperament that the Tasmanian Devil is a solitary creature.

The Tasmanian devil is nocturnal too; he sleeps during the day and is awake at night. During the night, they sometimes travel up to 16 miles to hunt.

Habitat

Although Tasmanian devils can live anywhere on the island of Tasmania, they prefer coastal scrub and forests, according to National Geographic. But no matter what area of ​​the island they live in, these animals sleep under rocks or in caves, logs or burrows.

Distribution

The Tasmanian Devil is found on the island of Tasmania in Australia, an area of ​​approximately 35.042 square miles (90.758 square kilometers).

Food

The Tasmanian devil is the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world, according to National Geographic. Most of the time, they eat birds, snakes, fish e insects. Often, they feast on dead corpses, called carrion. Sometimes many demons converge on a corpse, and clashes ensue.

When they eat, these little marsupials don't waste any part of the animal; they eat the bones, hair, organs and muscles of their prey.

A group of imps eating.

Predators

Tasmanian devils have only a few natural predators. The main threats to these animals come from disease, introduced species, and ongoing human activities. The largest and most obvious Tasmanian devil hunter, the Tasmanian tiger, became extinct many years ago. Tasmanian devils used to inhabit much of mainland Australia, but are now confined entirely to the island of Tasmania.

Mammals

Tasmanian devils are no longer found on mainland Australia, and this is probably due to another mammal. The Dogs o dingo Asians were probably introduced to Australia several thousand years ago and have thrived ever since. The Tasmanian tiger or tiralacina was a large carnivore that almost certainly ate Tasmanian devils, as its prey included several other mammals of comparable size. However, it is likely that the shooters were hunted to extinction, with the last individual dying in a zoo in 1936. Reports of sightings since then are unconfirmed and even if a few individuals have survived, they would not pose a serious threat to animals. Tasmanian devils.

In Tasmania, the two species of quoll, feline marsupials, can capture the young of these marsupials. Introduced carnivores, including foxes, cats and domestic dogs can also capture unprotected imps, although they are unlikely to hunt adults. If food is extremely lean, adult Tasmanian devils, especially unrelated ones, could be another threat to young of the same species.

Birds

The raptorsLike owls and eagles, they can and do eat baby Tasmanian devils. Since owls hunt at night and other raptors during the day, there is no safe time for very young individuals. With a weight of about 11 kilograms and a length of 30 centimeters, the adults are too big and heavy.

Reproduction

Tasmanian devils usually mate once a year in March. Marsupial mothers have a gestation period of around three weeks, and the babies are born in April. It will have up to 5 young at a time. The young, called impsThey are pink and hairless and only about the size of a grain of rice.

At birth, the imps must run to the mother's pouch, where they compete for one of her four teats. Only those four will have a chance to survive; the others will die due to malnutrition.

An imp, or baby Tasmanian devil.

Babies stay in their pouch for four months. Once they come out, they are weaned, and the mother will carry the imps on her back. By eight or nine months, the imps are fully developed.

Longevity / useful life

Tasmanian devils live five to eight years.

State of conservation

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, Tasmanian devils are in danger and their population is declining. In 2007, the IUCN estimated that the population could have been around 25.000 adults.

The Tasmanian devil population has declined by at least 60 percent since 2001 due to a cancer called devil's facial tumor disease (DFTD). DFTD causes tumors to form in the devil's facial area, making it difficult for her to eat. Eventually, the animal starves. The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program is an initiative created by the governments of Australia and Tasmania to save animals from DFTD.

Relationship with humans

As forest dwellers, Tasmanian devils are heavily affected by deforestation, which amounts to habitat destruction for both the devils and the animals they feed on. Humans cut down the forest for agriculture and industry.

Like all wild animals, Tasmanian devils are affected by pollution and the phenomenon of global warming. As habitats are destroyed by air and water pollution, which comes from human industry, animals like Tasmanian devils are becoming increasingly restricted in their habitats.

As humans enter the area, Tasmanian devils see their safe habitats shrink. Human society brings with it the additional danger that the contact is a devil and a Tasmanian people. This leads to the possible death of demons through car accidents.

Popular culture

Tasmanian devil, often abbreviated as Taz, is a character from Looney Tunes.

Taz is generally portrayed as a goofy teenager with a notoriously short temperament and little patience. He eats everything, with an appetite that seems to have no limits. Taz is best known for his speech that consists primarily of grunts, rasps, and squeals, and his ability to turn and bite into almost anything.

According to the episode of the Toonheads "Tasmanian Devil", Taz "had the character of Yosemite Sam" and is "dumber than Elmer Fudd."

Taz.
Copyright: Warner Bros.

List of other interesting animals