Why the Tasmanian Devil is So Important to Australia | World’s Weirdest Animals

The Tasmanian devil a small mammal vanquished
to the island of Tasmania once flourished in Australia. Not only did they flourish they were integral
to the stabilization of Australia’s ecosystem, ever since they were wiped out both plants
and animals in Australia have suffered. Measuring about the size of a medium-sized
dog and weighing around 26 lbs or 12 kg these animals evolved for millions of years on mainland
Australia. It’s unsure what exactly got the devils,
climate change, growth in size of aboriginal groups or the introduction of dingos 4000
years ago. One thing that is certain once they were gone
the introduction of new animals like European rabbits have devastated the undergrowth. This undergrowth provided places for many
species to build shelter and hunt like the bandicoot, potoroos and bettong. With no shelter, they moved elsewhere or their
numbers declined. Small mammals like these are integral to making
the whole system work, they dig through the ground spreading seeds, fungi and mix organic
matter throughout the soil. Among this matter are leaves that get buried
or mixed in with the soil keeping the ground cooler and reducing the effects of bush fires. As a result kangaroo and wallaby populations
have become too dense and being larger mammals their caloric demands on nature are much higher
which further puts a strain on Australia’s ecosystem. When the British arrived they brought foxes
and cats with them which spread across Australia feasting on the immense European rabbit population. This all comes back to the Tasmanian devil,
when their population was healthy in Australia cats would keep away allowing these other
smaller mammals to thrive which in turn drastically benefited the soil and grass and bushlands
of Australia. Basically put the Tazmanian devil was essential
to maintain balance in the wilderness of Australia pushing the kangaroos and wallabies deep into
the forest and the opossums back up into the trees. Today in controlled areas the devils are being
released to see if they can thrive in the managed space, from there they will start
to be released back into Australia’s wild with hopes of their numbers increasing. It isn’t a simple process though and the
answer is in their tail. A healthy Tasmanian devil will have a dense
reserve of fat stored in their tail, if their tail is limp and frail they are likely infected
with devil facial tumor disease which has wiped out 80% of the total population. If healthy they will thrive not from their
meager 15 mph or 24 kph run speed but excellent swimming and climbing ability but also they
can run for up to an hour straight without needing a break essentially running prey down
until they tire. Being the largest carnivorous marsupial alive
today, the devil eats birds, fish and insects both dead or alive. They don’t pick through their food they
eat it all, meat, bones, fur which can add up to 10% of their own body weight in a day. Hunting using their keen eyesight and smell
their true strength comes from their large head and powerful jaw. The Tasmanian devil has one of the strongest
bites of any animal in the world at 1200 pounds or 544 kg per square inch which is strong
enough to chomp through a metal trap. If challenged or threatened they’ll open
their jaw full size and potentially release a pungent smell because that always seems
to get the job done. These solitary creatures live alone and will
fight other males for territory, while classified as nocturnal they are active both during the
day and at night. Their iconic call or screech comes from mating
season, behavior during this time is also how they received their name. During breeding season mothers will give birth
to 30 tiny young who battle to drink from 1 of 4 nipples. After 4 months in mommas pouch, they exit
to begin life on land. At 8 months old they go off into the world
on their own and will live up to 8 years in the wild if not taken by devil facial tumor
disease. With some luck and medical innovation, we
might just see the Tasmanian devil roaming Australia once again.

14 thoughts on “Why the Tasmanian Devil is So Important to Australia | World’s Weirdest Animals

  1. No thank you Tassie can keep them, they wouldn't survive past Victoria anyway the temperature is significantly hotter than in Tasmania all year round (tassie is kinda like our England for weather) and is only getting more extreme each year. I think they would have a hard time adapting and there probably isn't enough numbers to try. Not to mention all the small endangered species in other states they would possibly take out. I do feel bad for the tumour they suffer from as they have no cure for it.

  2. I didn't know this. It is very interesting. A bit scary that so many animals need to be on watch because of human err and weather changes. Thank you David. 🇨🇦🌌⭐🌹

  3. m seeing this animal first time..seems very dangerous…imagine what happens when it bites us😱😱😱😱😱…very sharp teeth

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