Image: David Burke
A close look at those strong jaws
Much like the famous Looney Tunes character, real Tasmanian devils are quick to fly into what looks like a rage. When threatened, they make blood-curdling growls and screeches, lunge at their opponents, and bare their teeth. However, researchers now say that much of this aggressive posturing is performed to avoid fighting. Still, displays like this earned the creatures the name “devil” from early European immigrants.
Male Tasmanian devils often duel, particularly during mating season, and it’s common for adult males to have scars from past battles. They may only weigh up to 26 pounds, but these animals have a ferocious bite – ounce for ounce, the strongest of any predatory land mammal. Sadly, as we’ll see later, this habit of individuals biting one another is partly responsible for the serious predicament in which the species finds itself today.