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Tasmanian Devil

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The Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisi) is a solitary marsupial from dry eucalyptus forests and brush in Tasmania. These animals are the largest living carnivorous (meat-eating) marsupials. They're at the top of their local food web. They are protected animals due to their decreasing numbers; they used to also be found on the island of Australia, but were eliminated by dingos (wild dogs).

The Tasmanian Devil is nocturnal (most active at night). During the day it retreats to a burrow or a hollow log. The Tasmanian Devil has a life span of 8 years in the wild. Tasmanian Devils make shrieking noises, snorts, and snarls, which is why they were given their name.

Anatomy: The Tasmanian Devil is from 20 to 30 inches (51-78 cm) long, and weighs from 13 to 22 pounds (6 to 10 kg). Females are smaller than males. It has black fur with white markings on the neck, shoulders, and rump. The Tasmanian Devil has powerful, bone-crunching jaws, much stronger than dog jaws. It has a large head, large teeth, a short, stocky body, and a hairy tail that is 10 inches (25 cm) long. It is not a fast runner. When it is excited, the Tasmanian Devil's pale pink ears turn deep red-purple.

Diet: The Tasmanian Devil eats just about anything. It prefers carrion (dead meat that it finds), even eating the fur. It will also kill animals for food. It eats wallabies, kangaroos, pademelons, wombats, lizards, snakes, frogs, birds, crayfish, and eggs.

Reproduction: Females give birth to 3 or 4 tiny, blind young who stay in the backwards-facing pouch for about 4 months. The pouch faces backwards to keep dirt from entering it while the mother burrows.

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