Animal Database

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Animal Database
Animal Database
Tasmanian Devil
Tasmanian Devil
Range Tasmania
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Dasyuromorphia
Family Dasyuridae
Genus Sarcophilus
Species Sarcophilus harrisii
Conservation Status

The Tasmanian Devil, (Sarcophilus Harrisii), is a carnivorous marsupial of the family Dasyuridae, now found in the wild only on the Australian island state of Tasmania. The size of a small dog, it became the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world following the extinction of the Thylacine in 1936. It is characterised by its stocky and muscular build, black fur, pungent odour, extremely loud and disturbing screech, keen sense of smell, and ferocity when feeding. The Tasmanian devil's large head and neck allow it to generate amongst the strongest bite per unit body mass of any extant mammal land predator, and it hunts prey and scavenges carrion as well as eating household products if humans are living nearby. Although it usually is solitary, it sometimes eats with other devils and defecates in a communal location. Unlike most other dasyurids, the devil thermoregulates effectively and is active during the middle of the day without overheating. Despite its rotund appearance, the devil is capable of surprising speed and endurance, and can climb trees and swim across rivers. The Tasmanian Devil inhabited mainland Australia but went extinct 3,000 years ago because of the arrival of dingos.


Tasmanian devils became the largest known carnivorous marsupial since the extinction of the Thylacine. It is a muscular creature with a bad odor, black fur, and a very loud and eerie screech. Even though devils are small and may seem harmless, they are very strong, quick, and smart. They are able to climb trees and swim.



10-20 years


Needs Information...


Tasmanian devils are carnivores. They will either catch their own prey, eat the leftovers of others, or eat household supplies if they live in the same area as humans. They tend to eat very violently as well, as they are known to be violent animals.


Most zoologists believe that the ancestors of masupials migrated from South America during Gondwana, which is when Pangaea (the time when all seven continents were still as one super continent) split into two continents; Gondwana and Laurasia. Zoologists believe that marsupials lived at the southern tip of Gondwana which is where South America would have been. They then may have migrated into Australia as the continent split and adapted as Australia became more desert-like. However, it is unknown if the devils were part of one species of marsupial or they co-existed with the other species.

The reasoning behind why tasmanian devils are no longer in Australia is most likely because of dingoes. The devils most likely migrated to Tasmania because all dingoes in Tasmania were killed or removed because they killed the people living there's livestock. The time that the devils left Australia is unknown. There was a tooth found in Western Australia that may have been lost about 430 years ago.

Relationship with Humans[]

At Lake Nitchie in western New South Wales in 1970, a male human skeleton wearing a necklace of 178 teeth from 49 different devils was found. The skeleton is estimated to be 7,000 years old, and the necklace is believed to be much older than the skeleton. Archeologist Josephine Flood believes the devil was hunted for its teeth and that this contributed to its extinction on mainland Australia. Owen and Pemberton note that few such necklaces have been found. Middens that contain devil bones are rare—two notable examples are Devil's Lair in the south-western part of Western Australia and Tower Hill in Victoria.

In Tasmania, local Aborigines and devils sheltered in the same caves. Tasmanian Aboriginal names for the devil recorded by Europeans include "tarrabah", "poirinnah", and "par-loo-mer-rer". According to Fritz Noetling, the Secretary of the Royal Society of Tasmania in 1910, there was no evidence that Tasmanian Aborigines ate any carnivorous animals. Owen and Pemberton feel this may have contributed to the devil's survival prior to European settlement.