Tasmanian devil

Sarcophilus harrisii

Fascinating Facts

  • They got their name as “devil” after European settlers saw their fierce displays of teeth-baring, lunging, and guttural growls.
  • They are the largest carnivorous marsupial, at 30 inches and 26 lbs.
  • Pound for pound, they have one of the most powerful bites of any mammal.
  • Their main threat is Devil Facial Tumor Disease, the cause of which is still unknown. Vaccine development is their best chance for survival.
  • Devils yawn when threatened to showcase their huge mouth and plentiful teeth. Their ears will also turn bright red in the display.


Tasmanian Devils are nocturnal carnivores that live in dry forests and coastal woodlands. They mostly feed on carrion, but will hunt if easy food is not readily available, and will consume almost any meat. Their extremely sharp teeth help them eat all parts of a carcass, including bones! Their preferred food is often wombats, due to their high fat content.

Status in the Wild

Endangered – IUCN 2008


Exclusively on the Australian Island State of Tasmania

Location in the Zoo

Mammals Zone of the Sculpture Learning Plaza

Animals & Exhibits