The blame falls squarely on the shoulders of Bugs Bunny. Of course Tasmanian Devils spin as I have seen it from the cartoon screen since childhood. From some faraway and foreign land called Tasmania, my image of beasts impostering as whirling dervishes on steroids remained vivid through adulthood.
Through blushes of embarrassment I admit until a few years ago I didn’t even know where Tasmania was located on a map let alone it’s spinning devils. When our trip to Australia entered the planning phases it was this mysterious land that became one of my must not miss stops. After all those Saturdays with the Looney Tunes gang, the time had come to seek out these Tasmanian Devils; do they or don’t they spin?
What is a Tasmanian Devil?
The size of a small dog, the Tasmanian Devil is a carnivorous marsupial found only in the island of Tasmania, off the southern coast of Australia. Stocky and muscular it is known for its loud and disturbing screech and baring of teeth.
The Tasmanian Devil’s large head and neck enable it to deliver the strongest bite per unit of body mass of any living mammal. If the Tasmanian Devil can wrap it’s jaws around something it can crush it.
Where can you see a Tasmanian Devil?
Since the late 1990’s, the numbers of Tasmanian Devils have plummeted as Devil Facial Tumour Disease has spread through the population. In 2008 the Tasmanian Devil was declared an endangered species. Programs throughout Tasmania are working to breed the Devils in captivity to sustain the iconic symbol of Tasmania. The best way to see a Tasmanian Devil is to visit such a wildlife sanctuary where such breeding programs are occuring.
So do the Tasmanian Devils spin or not?
We had the good fortune to spend an afternoon at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary to learn about the Tasmanian Devil and have the opportunity to feed one. Our guide wearing steel toed boots assisted us (we were safely behind the enclosure wall) in feeding the very enthusiastic eater.
The Looney Tunes creators may not have got the spinning correct when they designed the cartoon character but the ferocious and bone crunching feeding behaviour of the Tasmanian Devil made me want to scream “Run for your life Bugs Bunny!” ( not to mention Hubby in the photo below)
Did you watch the Tasmanian Devil in cartoons as a child?
We were guest of Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. All shrieks by one of us were my own as well as any opinions shared here.