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Transcript of Tasmanian Devil
The real Tasmanian devil does not actually look like the cartoon character and is not the same size as humans. It also does not swirl around like a miniature tornado, wrecking every thing in its path. The Tasmanian devil is just 51 to 79 centimeters long and weighs only 4 to 11 kilograms.
Tasmanian Devils are small marsupials (animals with a pouch) with rat like features, sharp teeth and black or brown fur. They are super adorable, but don't be fooled. This creature is a blood sucking carnivore that is endangered and it also has a illness that is making them die out in the wild.
The Tasmanian devil is found on the island of Tasmania by Australia, Though Tasmanian devils can live anywhere on the island, they prefer coastal areas and forests. But no matter what area of the island they choose to build their homes they will always sleep under rocks or in caves, logs or burrows.
The cartoon Tasmanian devil does have one thing in common with the real creature, a bad temper. When the devil feels threatened, it goes into a rage in which it growls, lunges and shows its teeth. It also makes other ear splitting screams that can seem very devil like. The Tasmanian devil is also nocturnal; it sleeps during the day and is awake at night. During the night, they sometimes travel up to 10 miles to hunt.
The Tasmanian devil is the world's largest carnivorous marsupial. Most of the time they eat birds, snakes, fish and insects. They also eat dead animals, kind of like vultures. Sometimes two devils get to a dead animal, also called a carcass, at once and fight until one gets it.
When they have a meal, Tasmanian devils don't waste any part of the animal; they eat the bones, hair, organs and muscle of their prey.
Tasmanian devils only mate once a year. In March, mother devils have a period of around three weeks, and the babies are born in April.
She will have up to 50 babies at once. The babies called imps, are pink, weightless and only about the size of a grain of rice.
At birth, the imps must race to the mother's pouch, where they compete for one of her four teats. Only those four will have a chance of surviving; the others will die.
Babies stay in their mothers pouch for four months. Once they come out the mother will carry the imps on her back. By eight to nine months, the imps are fully grown. The Tasmanian devil will then live for five to eight years.
In the wild, an illness discovered in 1990 has killed tens of thousands of Tasmanian devils. This illness is called devil facial tumor disease; this rapidly spreading condition is a rare contagious cancer that causes large lumps to form around the animal's mouth, on their tongue, in their eyes and everywhere else on the face making it hard for it to eat.
Sadly the animal eventually starves to death. Animal health experts are finding out the populations where the disease has not yet appeared and are focusing on captive breeding programs to save the species from extinction. Because of the outbreak, the Australian government has listed Tasmanian devils as endangered.
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Since 1996 the population has gone down 60%. Taronga zoo is one of the places where there are breeding programs for Tasmanian devils. The Tasmanian Devil is disappearing at an alarming rate in the wild, but by donating to Taronga, you can support a breeding program that may just save the species from extinction.