Tasmanian Devil Description – What Does a Tasmanian Devil Look Like

Unlike the one in looney toons, the real Tasmanian devil looks like a small black bear cub that wanders around the forests of Tasmania fearlessly. The vague intimidating bearlike appearance isn’t enough to describe wild devils. They are also recognized by their black furry coat, prominent canines, and sharp claws which they probably use in digging burrows. In spite of their small size, Tasmanian devils have muscular stocky body which is quite unusual in other carnivorous marsupials. Let’s now study Tasmanian devil description in detail to find out precisely what does a Tasmanian devil look like.

Tasmanian Devil Description – What Does a Tasmanian Devil Look Like

what does a tasmanian devil look like
Tasmanian Devil Skeleton in the Museum of Oklahoma City. CC BY-SA 3.0

Physical Description – How Does the Devil Look Like

  • Tasmanian devils are all black—below and above.
  • There is prominent white mark that runs across the devil’s chest. Studies indicate that devils recognize their counterparts by looking at these white patches—something they can clearly see at night too. However, about 16% of the devils lack these white patches.
  • The devil is nearly the size of a fox-terrier.
  • It has a pretty compact body which is thick and stocky.
  • The hind legs of the devil are shorter than the front legs.
  • The devil has an extraordinarily big head with the tail reaching half the length of its overall body length.
  • Tasmanian devils have 5 long toes on their front feet. One of the toes erupts from the side whereas the other four are set to the front. Devils use their toes to hold food.
  • They have long whiskers.
  • The devil has thick neck and strong front body.

Read More: Tasmanian Devil Size

what does a tasmanian devil look like
The whiskers are clearly visible on top of the devil’s mouth.

Size and Weight

  • Devils are the size of a small dog. The overall body length of adult male measures up to 652 mm.
  • Males are bigger than the females. The male’s tail is 258 mm They weigh as much as 18 pounds.
  • The shoulder height is about 30 cm.
  • Adult females have an average head-body length of 570 mm with the tail reaching a length of 244 mm.
  • The western Tasmanian population is relatively smaller in size.

Read More: Tasmanian Devil Weight

Tasmanian Devil Tail

  • Devils have 2 inches long non-prehensile tail.
  • They use their tail to store body fats which is why those who eat a lot have fat tails.
  • The tail plays a vital role in assisting the devil to move or walk.
  • Not only does the tail is significant for the devil’s locomotion, it also plays an important role in showing the animal’s social behavior.
  • The devil balances its body with the help of a tail. The tail helps the animal particularly when it moves quickly.

Tasmanian Devil Claws

  • Devils have long sharp claws which are quite useful in digging burrows.
  • They will get hold of their mates by using these strong claws.

A Female’s Pouch

  • The female devil has a permanent pouch and it opens backwards.
  • Tasmanian devil pups spend their first 100 days inside the pouch.

Tasmanian Devil Description – What Does a Tasmanian Devil Look Like


Article Cited:

Owen and Pemberton, p. 64.

“Sarcophilus harrisii – Tasmanian Devil”. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Retrieved 30 September2010.

“Tasmanian devil (marsupial)”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 16 March 2018.