Curiosities of the Tasmanian devil
The Tasmanian devil, scientifically known as Sarcophilus harrisii , is the largest marsupial carnivore in the world. Currently, it is only found in the wild on the island of Tasmania. .
Characteristics of the Tasmanian devil
The Tasmanian demon presents a robust constitution with variable dimensions according to diet, habitat and age . Generally, the weight of males ranges between 7 and 13 kilos, while females usually do not exceed 9 kilograms.
Presents a dense black or brownish fur , with the usual presence of a whitish spot in the throat area, on the sides or in the back. Its snout is usually more pink.
Its front legs are slightly longer than the hind legs and its head is characterized by reaching a large size and being equipped with a powerful jaw . Once the two years are over, and when maturing sexually, the Tasmanian devil acquires a definitive adult size of 500 to 800 millimeters, with a tail that almost means half the length of his body.
Habits reproductive, food and behavioral
This species is characterized by having a average longevity of no more than five years, since most of the juveniles, after leaving the family nucleus, they find feeding difficulties or are threatened by some type of competitor.
Sexually defined by their promiscuity and by reproducing once a year between the months of February and June. The gestation period is 21 days and, although the number of offspring may exceed ten, only a maximum of four will be viable, since the female has only four nipples for breastfeeding. After calving, the young will remain in the pouch until weaning occurs.
At a nutritional level, the Tasmanian devil is an opportunistic predator and, despite its great hunting capacity, its diet is usually compounded of carrion. When it chooses live prey, it combines the ambush along with short distance chases, and that can reach speeds of 25 km/h for 1.5 kilometers .
Although its diet it is varied and fluctuates according to availability, when it comes to live prey, it has a preference for wombats, kangaroo rats and even livestock animals such as sheep. In addition, they also usually include those insects, larvae, reptiles and plant matter found on their way.
To hunt, he prefers the nights or the twilight and during the day he usually hides in the undergrowth or stays in small caves. They are characterized by being solitary and, when several individuals coincide around the same food source, they can develop aggressive attitudes, despite not being territorial . During the hunt they emit various squeals or grunts.
Habitat and conservation status
According to the Australian Government, the Tasmanian devil is found throughout Tasmania, as well as in some islands coastal. The species disappeared from the Australian continent 400 years ago , due to its competition with dingoes and increasing aridity.
This species has preference for dry forests and mixed sclerophiles, in addition to the eastern coastal area and the northwest coast of Tasmania.The animals that contract it, because it is a type of transmissible tumor, are distinguished by presenting lesions around the snout, which subsequently spread throughout the body.
Currently, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) considers the Tasmanian devil to be an endangered species.