A marsupial with a voracious appetite

Environment & Life

You surely don’t know this one but you can still give it a try… What’s less than the size of a single grain of rice at birth, effectively still just an embryo, blind, hairless and needs to make it to its mother’s pouch to continue development?

Well, we are sure that not many of you would have heard about the Tasmanian Devil. It is a carnivorous and semi-nocturnal creature with an aggressive nature and growling, wild hissing and screaming that has got it the name. Found in the woodlands and eucalyptus forests on the Australian island state of Tasmania, Tasmanian Devils are marsupials like koalas and kangaroos. A full-grown Tasmanian Devil is only about the size of a big housecat but it is the largest meat-eating marsupial and its voracious appetite is a thing of legend.

It normally ventures out and about during daylight hours but do most of their stalking and scavenging at night. In fact, they are considered valuable to the environment as a sort of four-legged vacuum cleaners. Usually solitary, you would often find several of them reach a carcass at the same time due to their excellent noses. Tasmanian Devils have powerful jaws filled with large sharp teeth, and a feeding group will devour every last bit of a meal. Their huge head, massive neck and powerful jaws allow them to eat parts of carcasses that others might leave behind like the bones!

The jaws of Tasmanian Devils open a full 80 degrees and it has a bite strength of 1200 PSI! More incredible is that fact that the marsupial stores fat in its tail so when food is scarce, the tail is narrow and limp and when life is good, the tail is fat and happy. Another interesting fact is that Tasmanian Devils spend more time biting each other than any other species.

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