Mammal Sarcophilus harrisii (Tasmanian Devil)

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Henry Arthur Readford
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Scientific Name: Sarcophilus harrisii

Common Name: Tasmanian Devil

Sub-class: Marsupialia

Family: Dasyuridae
Other Names: NA

Distribution: Anecdotal evidence suggests that devil numbers were quite variable over the past century, but were at historic highs about 10 years ago. They were particularly common in forest, woodland and agricultural areas of northern, eastern and central Tasmania.

Habitat: forest, woodland and agricultural areas

Field Notes: The world's largest surviving carnivorous marsupial, the devil has a thick-set, squat build, with a relatively large, broad head and short, thick tail. The fur is mostly or wholly black, but white markings often occur on the rump and chest. Body size also varies greatly, depending on the diet and habitat. Adult males are usually larger than adult females. Large males weigh up to 12 kg, and stand about 30 cm high at the shoulder.
The Tasmanian devil cannot be mistaken for any other marsupial. Its spine-chilling screeches, black colour, and reputed bad-temper, led the early European settlers to call it The Devil. Although only the size of a small dog, it can sound and look incredibly fierce.
numbers have dropped since the 1996 identification of Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) - a fatal condition in Tasmanian devils, characterised by cancers around the mouth and head.
There has been a 64 per cent decline in spotlighting sightings since the disease emerged. In the north-east of the State, where signs of the Tasmanian devil disease were first reported, there has been a 95 per cent decline (approximately) of average spotlighting sightings from 1993-95 to 2002-05.
Info taken from http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=387 & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tasmanian_Devil

Photo by auscraft 2012

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