Tasmanian Devils

Tasmanian Devils

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 03/29/2015

Reading time: 3 mins

See these famous creatures in person at Phillip Island!

The Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil has made this animal famous worldwide, and it’s hard to visualise the real deal without thinking it runs around in its own tornado of dust and dirt screaming at a roadrunner that it will never catch. But these endangered species are much more than a cartoon. They have a history of their own.


These creatures are only found in the wild within the State of Tasmania, but Australia has found them a few nice homes too, with conservation efforts to help the endangered Tasmanian Devils, a rare experience you might have missed out on! The name ‘Tasmanian Devil’ came from the European settlers who first visited Tasmania. During the night the group heard unearthly screams and growls from within the deep bushland. The cries were unlike any other animal growl they had eve heard, with the settlers believing the screams was the devil himself.


Tasmanian Devils are actually considered marsupials, coming from the same family of a Kangaroo. They are considered the biggest carnivorous marsupial in the world, similar in size to a small stocky dog, although its features are more similar to a rat. They have a rough appearance, with rough fur, sharp teeth, and plenty of scars from fights with prey or other Tasmania devils. One of the most interesting characteristics come from the smell of these little creatures. The distinct smell is used to ward of predators, keeping them at bay with a pungent odour. They may be small, but they are feisty critters who will put up a fight if need be. Don’t be surprised by its smaller shape either, as they can be quite aggressive, moving at incredible speed, can climb, and swim across rivers.


The Tasmanian Devil is an endangered species, undergoing a widespread diminish after the Tasmanian Devil Cancer appeared in Tasmania in 1996. The cancer affected almost all of the population, almost wiping the entire species out to the brink of extinction. However, Australia has undergone research and breeding in multiple wildlife parks throughout Australia to help the creatures fight back extinction.

Where to see them at Phillip Island

Where are you able to view these incredible creatures? With limited Tasmanian Devils, it’s not the easiest to find one in all of Australia. One location that houses the incredibly rare animals is the Maru Animal Park on Phillip Island. Just a few hours from Melbourne, Phillip Island has become an attraction all on its own. The locals range from koalas, to penguins, and even Tasmanian Devils. Although they are not out in the wild as the others, you get a chance to be up close and personal with a species that is on the verge of extinction. Here, you will see conservation at its best, as well as learn much more about the devils, their history, and why they are almost completely gone. If once in a lifetime opportunities are your thing, visiting Phillip Island to hang loose with a Tasmanian Devil should be at the top of your list.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.