Image: David Burke
Two young Tasmanian devils
Before we explore the terrible disease affecting them, let’s take a look at the peculiar marsupials themselves. Over the years, Tasmanian devils have acquired a bad reputation, and much of it is undeserved. That said, they do have some habits humans find less than endearing. For one, they stink – although only when stressed. What’s more, they eat just about anything, from baby animals, to domestic pets, to any kind of carcass they come across – including human corpses and buried horses!
Tasmanian devils have even been known to chew the legs off live sheep. And when scavenging a large carcass, these voracious marsupials like to first eat the soft organs, before snuggling down in the body cavity to enjoy the rest of their feast at leisure.