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Tasmanian Devil

The Tasmanian Devil is without a doubt Tasmania’s most well known critter. Seeing (and photographing) them in the wild is a tough ask as not only are they nocturnal, but their numbers have been massively diminished in the wild due to a terrible cancer-like disease known as Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) which is fatal to all devils that catch it.

Tassie Devil Bonorong Wildlife Park

Tassie Devil at Bonorong Wildlife Park

The role of wildlife parks in preseving healthy devil populations is now vital. One such park is Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, around 30 minutes drive from Hobart, where these photos were taken.

Tasmanian Devil Bonorong Wildlife Park

Tasmanian Devil sunning himself at Bonorong Wildlife Park

Tasmanian Devil Bonorong Wildlife Park

Tasmanian Devil at Bonorong Wildlife Park – wondering if it’s time to get up yet?

A few facts about the Tasmanian Devil

* The devil got its name not only from the wild sounds they make when fighting over food, but also from the fiery red glow of the devils ears when the sun is in the right spot – very devilish! (see below)

* The devils are very poor hunters, but have an exceptional sense of smell which allows them to search out sick or dead animals in the bush

* Devils can give birth to up to 40 young, but in general only 2-4 will survive. When born a baby devil is about the size of a grain of rice!

Tasmanian devil at Bonorong Wildlife Park

Tasmanian devil at Bonorong Wildlife Park – notice the “devilish” red of his ears…

About the Devil Facial Tumor Disease

The Devil Facial Tumor Disease is sadly contagious and lethal to any devil that catches it. Wild devil numbers have plummeted in the wild and the devil is now listed as threatened with extinction. The cause of the disease is unknown and a lot of urgent research is being carried out to learn ways to counter it. For the time being preventing healthy devils from contracting the disease is the only solution, hence the vital role of wildlife parks.

Tassie Devils fighting over food at Bonorong

Tassie Devils often fight over food, and when playing. This is the primary way the facial tumor disease is spread.

To find out more, or to donate money, please visit the Save the Tasmanian Devil website.


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About Luke

Luke O'Brien runs a stall at Hobart's popular Salamanca Market every Saturday where his prints and cards are available for purchase. Follow Luke's photographic adventures on Twitter at @lukeobrienphoto, at his Facebook page or by subscribing to his email newsletter.