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What is a Tasmanian devil? Candid Animal Cam meets the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world

  • Every Tuesday, Mongabay brings you a new episode of Candid Animal Cam, our show featuring animals caught on camera traps around the world and hosted by Romi Castagnino, our writer and conservation scientist.

Camera traps bring you closer to the secretive natural world and are an important conservation tool to study wildlife. This week we’re meeting the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world: the Tasmanian devil.

Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) used to live in Australia but now they can only be found in the island state of Tasmania, Australia. This nocturnal marsupial lives in open forests, grassy woodlands, coastlands scrub and brush where it spends most of its days alone in hollow logs, caves, or burrows, and only emerging at night to feed.

Did you know that Tasmanian devils have four toes in their hind feet but five toes on their forefeet? That’s what makes these devils so good at eating their food. Also, like other marsupials, their tails swell with stored fat when they are well-fed. Devils are listed as Endangered under the Tasmanian Government’s Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 and as Vulnerable under the Australian Government Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Watch the video to learn more about this species!

Special thanks to Dr. Christine Hosking for sharing this footage with us. Dr. Hosking is a semi-retired researcher with the University of Queensland. As a conservation biologist, she is always interested in the environment and wildlife around her. The images were taken with her wildlife camera at a private property on the East Coast of Tasmania, in an area called the Chain of Lagoons.

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Banner: Photo by JJ Harrison via Wikimedia commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Romi Castagnino is Mongabay’s bilingual writer. Find her on Twitter and Instagram: @romi_castagnino