Tasmanian Devil Predators: A Battle for Survival

May 17, 2023

Tasmanian devils are carnivorous mammals that you can only find in the southern side of Australia. It is actually a marsupial animal and is interlinked with animals like kangaroos and koalas. Tasmanian devils are small in size but have a very fierce temperament. These animals make very weird sounds like growling, and screeching when they eat and go in search of food. Tasmanian devil is very solitary by nature and mainly prey on small mammals like frogs, insects and birds.

As far as the Tasmanian devil predators are concerned, these animals have very few natural predators. The main causes of their death have been some natural diseases and human hunting and trapping activities. Historically, the biggest predator of the Tasmanian devil has been the Tasmanian tiger which has also gone extinct several years ago. In this article, we are going to explain in detail all the possible Tasmanian devil predators.

Top predators of the Tasmanian devil

Here we are going to discuss all the potential predators of the Tasmanian devil as well as other causes of death of these animals in detail.


Mammals have been targeting Tasmanian devils for various reasons. Tasmanian tigers had been the biggest predator of these animals. However, these animals went to extinction almost one century before. Now you can only see them in the zoo. It is also very rare to see them in the zoo. It means the Tasmanian tigers are not any serious threat to the Tasmanian devils.

Some other species like honey badgers, foxes and dogs could also target the Tasmanian devil. These species might not hunt adult devils but could easily target juvenile devils. Nowadays, people are also keeping domestic dogs on their farms to keep their livestock safe from Tasmanian devils. If Tasmanian evils wander on the farm in search of chicken or other small livestock animals, then the large domestic dog will not let them go easily and most of the time kill them on the spot.

The extinction of the Tasmanian devils from mainland Australia also happened due to the introduction of Asian dogs and dingoes several hundred years ago. Since then, the Tasmanian devil could not be recovered back and has been only limited to the Tasmanian island.

Natural diseases and parasites

As you already know, the Tasmanian devil is restricted to the very less geographical area named Tasmanian Island. It means that the diseases could spread very rapidly in these limited areas. In the 1990s, a disease named facial tumour spread very rapidly on the island and resultantly killed thousands of animals due to starvation as it is not possible for the animals to eat under this deadly disease.

Being a highly contagious disease, it spread very rapidly on the island and killed 2/3rd of these animals. It was first detected in 1996. It usually transmits from one animal to another due to biting or any other kind of touching and these things are very common during feeding and mating and fighting. If an animal has been infected with this disease then it could survive only for the next 6 to 12 Months. Unfortunately, there is no cure or vaccine available for recovery from these diseases. Scientists are working very hard to find a cure for this disease and stop its spread of it.


Tasmanian devils have also been facing very serious threats from the birds like owls and eagles. Owl comes out at night and eagles could target during the day, which means there is no safe time for the devils to come out. Wedge-tailed eagles have been targeting these animals on a very large scale.

It is very likely for the Tasmanian devils to encounter these birds as both share the same habitat and sometimes also prey on the same animals. These birds usually target juvenile devils as they could not lift very heavy adult Tasmanian devils weighting around 25 pounds.

Human activities

Human beings have also been equally responsible for the killing of these animals due to their excessive hunting and trapping activities. In the 19th and 20th centuries, some practices were adopted intentionally to eliminate these devils as Tasmanian devils were considered a threat to livestock.

Human beings also have played a very vital in the destruction of their natural habitats. Tasmanian devils are also being killed on a very large scale due to collisions with vehicles. It has been roughly estimated that almost 2000 Tasmanian devils are killed every year due to road accidents.

Population size of Tasmanian devil

According to the international union for the Conservation of Nature, there are only 15 to 25 thousand Tasmanian devils remain on the island. Most of their population mainly lie in the northwestern, east and southwestern side of Tasmania Island. The population size is decreasing very rapidly and it has been enlisted as an endangered species on the red list of IUCN.

The main reason behind the decline of their population is the devil facial tumour disease or DFTD. We have lost the 60% of their population since 2001 due to the spread of this cancerous disease. It has been roughly estimated that 83% population of the Tasmanian devil have been infected with this disease.

Conservation steps

Several steps are being taken on both government and private levels for the conservation and speedy recovery of these animals. The most prominent organization in this regard is the Save the Tasmanian Devil program in Tasmania. It is collaborating with many other organizations like San Diego zoo wildlife, research institutes and zoos around the world for the rehabilitation of these wild animals.

In this regard, a disease-free population centre has also been established on the island for monitoring and research on these animals. Moreover, you may also visit tassiedevil.com.au for more information about this. It is very important to save these animals from extinction due to a lot of importance in our ecosystem and this animal has also become the symbol of Tasmanian national parks and wildlife services.


Many Tasmanian devil predators exist in our ecosystems like foxes, dogs, and most prominently Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagles. The eagle has proved to be the biggest predator of the Tasmanian devil. Many others are causing the reduction of these animals like the destruction of natural habitats due to human settlement, excessive hunting, road accidents, and naturally contagious diseases like DFTD. The devil facial tumour disease has actually proved to be the main cause of their death. It has been responsible for the elimination of 60% of the Tasmanian devil population. Scientists are working very hard to find out the remedy for this disease as soon as possible.

Carlos Diaz
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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