Lifespan: Up to 8 years
Weight: Up to 14kg
Height: Up to 76cm
Speed: Up to 13km/h
Reproduction: Live birth
The scientific name ‘sarcophilus’ (meaning ‘flesh-lover’) is well suited to the Tasmanian devil, as these carnivorous scavengers feed on fresh meat as well as rotting carcasses of wallabies, wombats, lizards, frogs, almost anything they can find. When devils feed on their prey, they consume the entire animal – flesh, fur, bones and all. This keeps the environment tidy, healthy, and free of maggots and other infestations. Uninterrupted, Tasmanian devils can eat up to 40% of their body weight in 30 minutes.
Although devils have a reputation of being noisy feeders, their screeches and growls are most often a bluff to intimidate other animals in order to prevent fighting.
The greatest threat to this endangered species is the Devil Facial Tumor Disease. This contagious cancer is a fatal disease that spreads easily from devil to devil through biting. Scientists are working hard to find a cure to save this species from extinction.