When the Europeans came across the Tasmanian devil, they were horrified by it’s red ears and high pitched squeal and tales of a ferocious beast with huge fangs were spun. Despite being carnivorous marsupials, they developed a reputation which far exceeded the reality.
As the devil is a black, stocky animal with a bad smell, it is perhaps not surprising that they aren’t popular. They have the strongest jaw to body weight of any animal and a feisty attitude to match. When they are threatened, they become aggressive and this has added to their persecution. These tenacious beasts encourage us to stand up for ourselves, to own our personal power.
Historically they have been maligned and seen as a pest. Other dangers include being hit by cars, being attacked by dogs and falling into old mine shafts. Despite perception, the devil is shy, living mostly in the shadows of the night.
Whilst they are nocturnal, they are thought to be most active in the transition times; dusk and dawn. To help them find prey in the dark, they use their long whiskers, fantastic hearing and excellent sense of smell. In terms of vision, it is thought that their sight is strongest at seeing black and white and that they see moving objects more clearly than still ones.
In terms of diet, devils prefer to scavenge, eating virtually everything and aren’t very efficient predators. Whilst they are solitary creatures, they do come in contact with other devils at carcasses. This role in the ecosystem, keeping the environment clean, is akin to that of the vulture. Both help to purify their habitat, getting rid of rubbish and ensuring that bacteria and contagions are under control.