I hope you enjoy reading and learning about the Tasmanian Devil. Keep reading my entries to find out all the things I have learned!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


I have to talk about reproduction only because I found information on it and not because I'm interested in reproduction.  I'm not . . . in the slightest!  However reproduction really is important and without it there would be no more Tassie Devils.

The Tasmanian Devils mate mostly during March and May.  There is a lot of growling and screeches and even biting.  So if you are reading this from Tasmania and you hear screeches and growls it could be a couple of Tassie Devils!  Tassie Devils mate at any time of the day or night.  

After about three weeks of pregnancy the baby Tasmanian Devils are born.  They are called  joeys, like baby kangaroos.  When the joeys are born there are up to 40 of them and they are TINY - only the size of raisins!!. The first second of life and they're off- trying to get to mums pouch where there are four teats - the first four to get there are the only ones to surviveIt's really sad that about 36 die!  They stay in the mother's pouch for about 4 months and they are weaned usually when they are about six months.  After two years the joey is able to have his or her own kids.     


Key Concepts

In class we been learning about 3 "key concepts".  They are responsibility, perspective and connection.  I'm going to talk a bit about each of them.

Responsibility - There are so many different responsibilities in the world, especially when it comes to Tasmanian Devils.  We have the responsibility to actually do something not just stand there and think that we can't make a change.  People should donate for research and spread the word - this is our responsibility.

Perspective - There are so many different perspectives when it comes to Tassie Devils; farmers, Tasmanian Devils, people trying to protect Tassie Devils, the Government and even you!  All these people/Devils think different things.  The people trying to protect Tassie Devils (also called a conservationist or tree hugger) and you might think that we should protect Tasmanian Devils.  The farmers might think we should let the Tasmanian Devils all die until they are extinct.

Connection - Tasmanian Devils connect or interrelate to a few things like farms, foxes, dogs and the bush. Tasmanian Devils connect to farms because they enjoy eating their livestock. They are also affected by foxes and dogs because they will eat Tasmanian Devils. They have a relationship with the bush as that is where they live, ie. their habitat.

How YOU can Help

There are a couple of ways that we can help. 

* support Black and White Day by wearing black and white and donating.
* donate anytime towards DFTD research.
* spread the word about the Tasmanian Devils and what has made them endangered.
*study hard so that when you leave school you could become a scientist or a conservationist and continue helping Tassie Devils.

Monday, May 20, 2013


DFTD, as I started talking about in my last entry, is not good in the slightest.  I've looked at some websites and it's not very pretty (you can probably see that in the picture).  If you have a weak stomach I suggest you stop reading now.

DFTD or Devil Facial Tumor Disease - I don't say the full name because it's too long - is a fatal cancer and there is no known cure.  The cancer is first seen in and around their mouth in the form of a small lump.  These grow into huge lumps on the face and neck and sometimes even on other parts of the body!

DFTD is really strange because it is one of three cancers that spreads from person to person (or in this case should I say Devil to Devil) like a contagious disease.  The disease is passed from devil to devil through biting, mating and eating from the same carcass.

Another strange thing is that DFTD is found in only certain parts of Tasmania.  In different parts of Tasmania the Devils seem to be healthy. 
Devil Facial Tumor Disease (I can't believe I survived writing that) has mainly affected adult Devils - males seem to be affected first, then the females - though younger Tassie Devils can be affected as well.  Animals will die within three to six months after the first lumps appear.     

In February 2010, Devil Facial Tumor had spread across more than 60% of the State.  Tasmanian Devils that have DFTD find it hard to eat which means that they die of starvation or their bodies break down. 

Scientists  have been trying their hardest to find a cure for this awful disease but haven't succeeded yet.  But they had better hurry because DFTD is wiping out Tasmanian Devils fast.  Since the early 1990's the population of Tassie Devils in the wild has decreased by 80%!!!

Experts are making sure that a big group of Tasmanian Devils will survive no matter what.  They are doing this by quarantining healthy Tassie Devils - this means they put a group of healthy Devils in an area where they can't mix with any other Tassie Devils.  These Devils are being used in a special breeding program called the Insurance Population.

Read my next entry to find out how you can help.  .  .  .  and only 4 days to go until Black and White Day!!

Monday, May 13, 2013


Well, now that I know so much about Tasmanian Devils, I've got a real soft spot for them. But I know that there is a real chance they may not be around in the near future - and so something needs to be done to save them.

Some of the things that aren't helping their survival are foxes, dogs, cars and DFTD. 

Foxes - Foxes and Tasmanian Devils are similar in size and their habitats and eating habits are also similar and so they compete for these things.  Foxes and Devils will try stealing each others' babies when the mum isn't around!

Dogs - Dogs as individuals and in packs, have been known to kill Tassie Devils. The "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species" estimates that several hundred Devils are killed by dogs each year.

Cars - Cars are a big threat to Devils.  Tassie Devils love munching on dead animals and so they often eat animals that have been hit by cars.  While eating, they sometimes become road kill themselves.  Some Tasmanian Devils are now being put in captivity to prevent them from being hurt or killed by cars.

 DFTD (Devil Facial Tumor Disease)- DFTD is the #1 killer of Tassie Devils.  It affects their face and mouth and then keeps growing.  It is a type of cancer and there is no cure yet.  Make sure you look at my next entry 'cause I'll be talking about this disease in detail.    

Human Hunting - This is no longer a threat since Devils became protected by law in 1941 but their low numbers are due to many years of hunting before this.  Farmers used to believe that Tasmanian Devils ate large numbers of their livestock such as sheep, chickens and ducks. They thought they would kill anything and everything but really they only killed what they needed to eat - and they preferred small and easy prey.  The real threat to farmers were the introduced animals like foxes, dogs and feral cats.  Farmers use to shoot and trap the Tassie Devils. 

Without Tasmanian Devils the Tasmanian wildlife would be in trouble because they help to stop predators such as feral cats and foxes from increasing.

"If the devils go, and the foxes and cats increase, it would be all over for a good dozen or more species of mammals—many of which are unique to Tasmania … not to mention lizards and ground-dwelling birds," said the head of WWF - Australia's conservation program, Ray Nias.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


I've been thinking a lot about the habitat lately and I've found out a few interesting things.  OK, here goes. . . Tasmanian Devils live all over Tasmania especially in the north west and eastern regions.  People have found fossils of Devils all over the mainland of Australia and so they know that they used to be found in all of

Australia but it is believed that dingoes wiped them out on the mainland.  Tassie Devils usually live near farms (or even under farm houses) because there is a lot of food nearby for them to eat - and for this reason the Tassie Devil isn't a favourite neighbour of the farmers.  

Tassie Devils are commonly found in rainforests, range land, rural areas, scrub lands, coastal moorlands and woodland forest.  They live in dens, similar to  wolves and foxes.  They usually make these in old wombat burrows, thick vegetation, caves and hollow logs.  They can have 1-3 dens (within 20 square kilometers) which they use each night while hunting.  During the day, Tassie Devils stay in their dens and go into a sleepy state called torpor - so they can save their energy.

Devils are very picky about how their homes look.  They are always cleaning out their homes (or nests) and replacing old dirty leaves with fresh leaves.  I had no idea that they would prefer neat homes - I like my room neat but it doesn't stay neat for too long though!!! 

Friday, May 10, 2013


This morning my little brother asked, "Do Tasmanian Devils eat zebras?"  Well, if they lived in Tanzania, I'm sure they would but he had his countries mixed up and I don't think a Tassie Devil would ever come across a zebra in Tasmania.                   

His question got me thinking and so I looked on the internet and found out that Tasmanian Devils aren't fussy eaters!  They will eat anything they can sink their teeth into and they have really powerful jaws and teeth so they eat the WHOLE animal - bones, fur and all!  They are usually scavengers, which means they prefer to find something dead to eat but they can also hunt other animals for fresh meat. Although they can't run fast, they can run for an hour at full speed (13km/hr) and when their prey tires they can attack.  Some of the animals they have been known to eat are wallabies, echindas, platypus, wombats, possums, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and even sea squirts (a creature that is attached to the ocean floor and feeds on plankton)!  They have been described as a 'living vacuum cleaner' because they clean up all the dead animals from the bush.

The wombat is probably their favourite food and this is possibly because they are so fat and so they get a lot of calories from eating them.  I guess it could be because they taste good too - although I think I would prefer to munch on a lolly pop!

Dead sheep and cows are also a good find for the Tassie Devils - although they only eat the mouth, udder and anus (GROSS!!!) of the cow as the skin is too tough for them.  Small and sick farm animals are in danger of becoming prey as the Tasmanian Devil will use their weaknesses for their own advantage.  They also enjoy eating chickens and eggs that they find on farms.

Tassie Devils are well known for their rough shoving, pushing and their screeches when feeding on a corpse - all they are trying to do is show how big, tough and strong they can be so they can be the "Top Devil".   

Tassie Devils eat a lot!!  Usually they eat 10-15% of their body weight per day and even more if they are hungry enough.  They have been known to eat up to 40% of their body weight in just 30 minutes!!!