Tasmanian devil

Tasmanian devil


Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii).—John Yates/Shostal Associates

Marsupial species (Sarcophilus harrisii or S. ursinus, family Dasyuridae), now extinct on the Australian mainland, that survives in remote rocky areas of Tasmania. It is 30–40 in. (75–100 cm) long, with a stocky body, large head and jaws, and long bushy tail. The coat is usually black and brown with a white-marked breast. Named for its devilish expression and husky snarl, it is mainly a scavenger of wallaby and sheep carcasses but also eats beetle larvae and occasionally poultry. Its three or four young remain in the mother's pouch about five months.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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