Vietnam 1969-70 Mouse Story Our Cemetery Photo Gallery
This animal, like the Tasmanian Tiger, is found only in Tasmania and is a much smaller edition of the Tasmanian tiger, with a fierce disposition. Only the size of  a middle-sized dog, the animal has a powerful head, jaws and forequarters. The large white teeth, contrasting with the bright pink of the mouth and the black  fur, make a fearsome sight. At night when the animals are active they can be frightening. Usually there are bands of white on the rump and on the chest.  Occasionally specimens are brown or entirely black.  Like the tiger, the devil feeds on small animals such as wallabies, though with the introduction of the rabbit its food supply increased.  In a way the devils are reminiscent of hyenas since with the strong jaws and teeth even large animals such as dead cows are eaten. Fur and bones disappear  under its attack and only the toughest parts of the skeleton are left.   The Tasmanian devil cannot be mistaken for any other marsupial. Its spine-chilling screeches, black colour, and reputed bad-temper, led the early European  settlers to call it The Devil. Although only the size of a small dog, it can sound and look incredibly fierce.    Description  The world's largest surviving carnivorous marsupial, the devil has a thick-set, squat build, with a relatively large, broad head and short, thick tail. The fur is  mostly or wholly black, but white markings often occur on the rump and chest. Body size also varies greatly, depending on the diet and habitat. Adult males  are usually larger than adult females. Large males weigh up to 12 kg, and stand about 30 cm high at the shoulder.   Habitat  Devils are widespread in Tasmania from the coast to the mountains. They live in coastal heath, open dry sclerophyll forest, and mixed sclerophyll-rainforest --  in fact, almost anywhere they can hide and find shelter by day, and find food at night.   Breeding  Devils usually mate in March, and the young are born in April. Gestation is 21 days. More young are born than can be accommodated in the mother's  backward-opening pouch, which has 4 teats. Although 4 pouch young sometimes survive, the average number is 2 or 3. Each young, firmly attached to a teat,  is carried in the pouch for about 4 months. After this time the young start venturing out of the pouch and are then left in a simple den - often a hollow log.  Young are weaned at 5 or 6 months of age, and are thought to have left the mother and be living alone in the bush by late December. They probably start  breeding at the end of their second year. Longevity is up to 7-8 years   Diet  The devil is mainly a scavenger and feeds on whatever is available. Powerful jaws and teeth enable it to completely devour its prey -- bones, fur and all.  Wallabies, and various small mammals and birds, are eaten -- either as carrion or prey. Reptiles, amphibians, insects and even sea squirts have been found in  the stomachs of wild devils. Carcasses of sheep and cattle provide food in farming areas. Devils maintain bush and farm hygiene by cleaning up carcasses.  This can help reduce the risk of blowfly strike to sheep by removing food for maggots. Devils are famous for their rowdy communal feeding at carcasses -- the  noise and displays being used to establish dominance amongst the pack.   Behaviour    The devil is nocturnal (active after dark). During the day it usually hides in a den, or dense bush. It roams considerable distances --up to 16 km -- along well-  defined trails in search of food. It usually ambles slowly with a characteristic gait but can gallop quickly with both hind feet together.   Young devils are more agile however and can climb trees. Although not territorial, devils have a home range.   The famous gape or yawn of the devil that looks so threatening, can be misleading.   This display is performed more from fear and uncertainty than from aggression. Devils produce a strong odour when under stress, but when calm and relaxed  they are not smelly.  
                Chestnut Blue
The Tasmanian Devil - Sarcophilus harrisii
Website made using Xara Web Designer