Best Place to Spot a Tasmanian Devil in Australia
When you think of the name Tasmanian Devil, you might think up images of ‘Taz’, the Warner Brothers cartoon character, who had a habit of causing destruction in a whirlwind of crazy antics. In reality, the Tasmanian Devil couldn’t be any more different. Shy and reclusive, the world’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial is actually very difficult to spot in the wild. Check out our guide below to answer the popular question - where is the Best Place to Spot a Tasmanian Devil in Australia?
It is likely that the Tasmanian Devil acquired their ferocious name from fearful early settlers who were alarmed by the blood-curdling screams, coughs and growls the creatures made at night when scavenging. This snarling behaviour while eating as well as their incredibly strong jaws, which are capable of crushing large bones are probably what helped them gain a reputation for aggression.
That said, if you are looking to see a Tassie Devil, your only bet is to hop on the Spirit of Tasmania and visit their home island - Tasmania. Indeed, the Tasmanian Devil once lived on mainland Australia but is now found only in Tasmania.
In the early 1990's, their numbers were at historic highs until their population was devastated by a mysterious cancer called the Devil Facial Tumour Disease. The cancer is a fatal condition characterised by disfiguring ulcers around the mouth and head and appears to be passed directly from animal to animal by biting. Unfortunately, around half of the wild devil population has succumbed to the mysterious disease in the past 10 years and in conjunction with their natural shyness, this is another reason why the Tasmanian Devil is so elusive to spot in the wild. There are hardly any of them out there.
So where is the best place to spot one of Australia’s more unique creatures?
Well, the best place is actually in captivity at the world’s leading Tasmanian Devil centre is the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park, established in 1978 just one hour’s drive from Hobart, on the main highway to Port Arthur.
At the park, you can meet super cute baby devils (known as ‘imps’), learn about projects being developed to save the Tasmanian Devil from extinction, hand feed friendly kangaroos, see a free-flight raptor show, discover quolls, eagles, falcons and hawks, encounter a potoroo and see many other fascinating Tasmanian creatures.
The Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park is in an isolated, disease-free area so the Devils here are safe from the Devil Facial Tumour Disease. You can help support research to fight the disease by visiting the Park and signing up to become a Tasmanian Devil Friend or visit www.tassiedevil.com to donate some money. The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program is an initiative of the Australian and Tasmanian Governments and aims to secure a healthy population of Tassie Devils for the future. A new ‘Ambassador Devils’ initiative will see Tassie Devils placed in select overseas zoos to raise awareness of the plight of Tasmanian Devils on the world stage.