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Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) Fact Sheet: Summary

Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii)

Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) Fact Sheet

Tasmanian devil balancing on branch

Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii)

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


Taxonomy Physical Characteristics

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Dasyuromorphia (most of the carnivorous marsupials in Australia; around 70 species of small marsupials)

Family: Dasyuridae (some 21 genera of small marsupials)

Genus: Sarcophilus

Species: Sarcophilus harrisii - Tasmanian devil

Subspecies: Sarcophilus harrisii harrisii - extant Tasmanian devil
Subspecies: † Sarcophilus harrisii dixonae - extinct Tasmanian devil

Body Weight
Male: 8-14 kg (20-31 lb)
Female: 5-9 kg (10-20 lb)

Body Length
Male: 652 mm (2.14 ft)
Female: 570 mm (1.9 ft)

Tail Length
Male: 258 mm (10.2 in)
Female: 244 mm (9.61 in)

Black fur marked by white on rump and chest

Distribution & Status Behavior & Ecology


Most abundant in eucalyptus forests, woodlands, and coastal scrub.

IUCN Status
Endangered (2008 assessment)

CITES Appendix
Not listed

Other Designations
Listed as an endangered species by the Australian Government

Population in Wild
10,000-25,000 mature individuals; some uncertainty in estimates

Walk, run, good swimming ability. Climb trees.

Activity Cycle
Usually nocturnal. May sunbathe during the day.

Social Groups
Solitary, but feed communally. Interact mostly while feeding and during breeding.

Scavenge on carcasses, mostly possums and macropods. Ambush, chase, or catch live prey (opportunistically).

Dingoes, foxes, domestic dogs

Reproduction & Development Species Highlights

Sexual Maturity
Males: Begin mating at 3-4 years of age, but reach physical maturity sooner
Females: 1-2 years old

31 days

Litter Size
1-4, with a single young is the least common

Birth Weight
0.18-0.29 g (0.01 oz and less)

Age at Weaning
At about 7 months

Typical Life Expectancy
Wild populations: 3–4 years, on average, prior to the late 1990s outbreak of a contagious, fatal disease (Devil Facial Tumor Disease)

Feature Facts

  • Largest carnivorous marsupials in the world today
  • Known for unusual vocalizations
  • Dig concealed, underground burrows
  • Sharp, non-retractable claws for digging, holding prey, finding food
  • Many blood vessels in their ears; when agitated, their ears become red
  • A facial tumor disease threatens Tasmanian devils with extinction

About This Fact Sheet

© 2012-2019 San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. Mortality & Health, population estimates updated Apr 2019.


How to cite: Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) Fact Sheet. c2012-2019. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. tasmaniandevil
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)


Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to

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