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Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) Fact Sheet: Managed Care

Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii)

History of Managed Care

  • In a study of devils at Adelaide Zoo (Smith 1993):
    • Two females and one male devil produced six male and two female joeys in 1990
      • The two females shared the same den
      • Once joeys could leave a pouch, they might be found in either females' pouch
        The six joeys often slept in a group after leaving the pouch permanently
  • In 2001, only 5 Tasmanian devils were housed in managed care in North America (Schaap 2002)
  • A feeding regime which varies timing, placement, and amounts of food greatly improves a devil's quality of life (Schaap 2002)
    • In a study at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, enrichment strategies eliminated the old pacing behavior and replaced it with:
      • Exhibit exploration and foraging
      • Grooming
      • Remaining alert, sniffing the air
  • Care must be taken not to overfeed devils, as they easily become obese (Jackson 2003)

A Long Flight and Four "Stowaways"

Tasmanian devil at San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo welcomed its first pair of Tasmanian devils into its collection in 1955.

Unbenownest to people shipping the devils, the female was carrying four baby "stowaways" in her pouch.

Read the full story of the pair's journey across the Pacific Ocean, here.

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.

Page Citations

Jackson (2003)
Schaap (2002)
Smith (1993)

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