Devils used to be on the mainland of Australia but are now restricted to Tasmania where they are found in varied habitats from the coast to the mountains. They are nocturnal and are the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial.
Tasmanian devils face extinction in the wild because of a contagious cancer that appeared in 1996 called the Devil Facial Tumor Disease. This is characterised by cancers around the mouth and head. The number of devils has declined to 10% of their original number and the decline continues.
In response, a managed population of around 500 animals has been established in wildlife parks and zoos across Australia.
Part of the recovery program, Moonlit Sanctuary houses post reproductive animals on behalf of the program. You can see our Tasmanian devils in their enclosure between the dingoes and the eagles.
WHAT THEY EAT
Tasmanian devils are carnivores and mainly scavenge for food eating carrion (dead animals), they will eat bones, fur and all. They can eat 5-10% of their body weight in one day.
Devils usually breed in March with the female giving birth after a three-week pregnancy to 20-40 joeys that are the size of a grain of rice. There are only four teats in the pouch so only the first four joeys that make it to the pouch get a chance for survival.