Tasmanian Devil Pouch – Do Tasmanian Devils have Pouches?

Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) belong to the infraclass marsupialia. Like kangaroos or wombats Tasmanian devils are also pouched mammals. Pouch is a prominent feature of a female which is present is just about every female marsupial. All marsupials carry their young inside the pouch. Just to let you know that the pouch is a fold of skin that covers the female’s nipples. Tasmanian devil is just another marsupial so it does have a pouch except that, unlike in kangaroo, the devil’ pouch opens to the rear. Let’s discuss Tasmanian devil pouch facts in detail.   

Tasmanian Devil Pouch – Do Tasmanian Devils have Pouches?

Like other marsupials, female Tasmanian devils carry their undeveloped young inside their pouch. The pouch doesn’t only protect the young from predators—it’s the only feeding site for newborn devil babies.

Tasmanian devils produce many pups at one time so the competition among pups is highly likely and probable. Inside the pouch each pup sticks to the nipple for as long as 100 days. The kangaroo’s pouch is all exposed to the front so the mother can observe her joey right up front. However in Tasmanian devils (like wombats) the pouch opens to the rear and the mother is unable to directly supervise her pups.

Read More: How Many Babies Do Tasmanian Devils have

The competition inside the pouch is intense and only the strongest can reach the adulthood. The reason behind is that the female devil has only four nipples but the pups are way too many. It means she cannot nurse more than four pups at a time. More so, as the female gets older the size of the litter becomes smaller. When the pup sucks the nipple the nipple expands and as the nipple expands it holds the pup preventing the baby to fall from the pouch.

Studies indicate that females are more likely to survive as compared to males. Furthermore, only 40% of all pups are able to reach the adulthood. The pups will develop their ears, fur and every feature while inside the pouch. They will only emerge after 100 to 105 days after birth and when they do the pups look quite similar to their parents. However, young devils will abandon the pouch permanently when they reach 6 months of age.

Tasmanian Devil Pouch – Do Tasmanian Devils have Pouches?

Article Cited:

Guiler, E. R. (1970). “Observations on the Tasmanian devil, Sarcophilus harrisii II. Reproduction, Breeding and Growth of Pouch Young”. Australian Journal of Zoology. 18: 63–70. doi:10.1071/ZO9700063.

Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (2010). “Draft Recovery Plan for the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii)” (PDF). Hobart: Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment. Retrieved 3 September 2015.

Chuang, L.-T.; Pinfold, T. L.; Hu, H.-Y.; Chen, Y.-S.; et al. (January 2013). “Fatty-acid, amino-acid and mineral composition of two milk replacers for marsupials”. International Zoo Yearbook. 47 (1): 190–199. doi:10.1111/izy.12014.

The reason why I chose Tasmanian devil was not because it's the world's largest carnivorous marsupial but due to the fact that it is one of those carnivores that is ready to kill on a moment's notice. I'll be looking into this dog-like beast to know why it behaves the way it does about certain things.