Devils, Quolls and Wombats

(Cradle Mountain Part 7 – 18 Photos) –
After our long hike, we visited “Devil’s @ Cradle” wildlife park where they have breeding programs for the now endangered Tasmanian Devil, rare Spotted-Tailed Quolls and Eastern Quolls.

Tasmania, once called Van Diemen’s LandThe Devil’s Land, home of the Tasmanian Devil! Perhaps your familiar with Warner Bros. depiction of our native carnivorous marsupial? The real thing is NOTHING like that!

Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii)

After an informative tour, we had the entire park to ourselves! The light wasn’t the best for moving wildlife, so I had the camera set on Pro capture with a high stutter speed, high ISO and rattled off countless shots as we wandered around. Most of these are edited from RAW files. Here’s some of my favourites which display some of their behaviours.

Despite having one of the most powerful jaws on the planet for it’s body weight, Devils are mostly scavengers – but they will also hunt. They’re adequate all-rounders at most things, like swimming, climbing trees etc. but not the best at anything.

The size of a small dog, the Tasmanian devil became the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world following the extinction of the thylacine in 1936. It is related to quolls and distantly related to the thylacine. It is characterised by its stocky and muscular build, black fur, pungent odour, extremely loud and disturbing screech, keen sense of smell, and ferocity when feeding.

So many images, edited in an oil painting style for fun 🙂

They have a fairly big range of overlapping territories up to 25 km and usually travel between several dens – My neighbour and night walking friend Evan has one visit under his house occasionally, making a racket for a day or two before moving on … so far anyway.

Tasmanian Devils were hunted and became endangered in Tasmania because they were seen as a threat to livestock and fur-bearing wild animals.

In 1941, devils became officially protected, and since then, scientists have contended that earlier concerns over the threat to livestock were overestimated and misplaced. Since the late 1990s, the devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) has drastically reduced the population and now threatens the survival of the species, which in 2008 was declared to be endangered.

The Eastern Quoll was once widespread in south-east Australia, has been extinct on the mainland since the 1960s.

Eastern Quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus)

Quolls generally shelter in dens during the day and hunt alone at night. They’re generalist, opportunistic carnivores – in other words, they eat a wide variety of foods, as long as it’s meat!

The Spotted-Tailed Quoll are Near Threatened according to by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Spotted-tailed Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus)

Where they remain, quolls use a wide range of habitats. They live in coastal heathlands, sub-alpine woodlands, temperate woodlands and forests, riparian forests and wet sclerophyll forests.

The Spotted-tailed Quoll can eat medium-sized birds and mammals, such as possums and rabbits.

Most quolls have short life-spans, generally living only 2 to 4 years in the wild (longer in captivity). They have an extraordinary mating system, in which most reproduction occurs in the first year of life.

The following images are of wild animals taken after our visit to the park.

Bennet’s Wallaby
The Tasmanian subspecies or Red-necked Wallaby, (Macropus rufogriseus rufogriseus), usually known as Bennett’s wallaby, is smaller, has longer, darker and shaggier fur, and breeds in the late summer, mostly between February and April. They have adapted to living in proximity to humans and can be found grazing on lawns in the fringes of Hobart and other urban areas. Their numbers have expanded over the past 30 years because of a reduction in hunting pressure and the partial clearing of forest to result in a mosaic of pastures where wallabies can feed at night, alongside bushland where they can shelter by day.

(Macropus rufogriseus)

There are three main types of wombat and of those, only one sub-species of the Common Wombat (Vombatus ursinus tasmaniensis) lives on the Tasmanian mainland. The common wombat is the largest burrowing herbivorous mammal, but the Tasmanian Wombat is not as large or bulky, averaging 85 cm in length and 20 kg in weight. The closest relative of the wombat is, in fact, the koala.

Common Wombat (Vombatus ursinus tasmaniensis)

Burrows can be up to 20 m long and more than 2 m below the ground, and have numerous connecting tunnels and entrances.

Common wombats are herbivorous, subsisting on grass, snow tussocks, and other plant materials. Foraging is usually done during the night. They are the only marsupial in the world whose teeth constantly grow which allows them to maintain a diet consisting of mainly native grasses.

The rump of the wombat is covered by a very tough, thick skin. If threatened, a wombat will dive into a nearby burrow or hollow log, using its rump as protection from the teeth and claws of its attacker. The wombat is also capable of crushing attackers against the burrow roof. Their natural enemies are Tasmanian devils and eagles, while no doubt the thylacine once preyed upon them.

After getting close to these wild wombats to get these shots, I discovered the following while researching:
“Humans can receive puncture wounds from wombat claws, as well as bites. Startled wombats can also charge humans and bowl them over, with the attendant risks of broken bones from the fall. One naturalist, Harry Frauca, once received a bite 2 cm (0.8 in) deep into the flesh of his leg—through a rubber boot, trousers and thick woollen socks. A UK newspaper, The Independent, reported that on 6 April 2010, a 59-year-old man from rural Victoria state was mauled by a wombat (thought to have been angered by mange), causing a number of cuts and bite marks requiring hospital treatment. He resorted to killing it with an axe.”

There’s one final post to come from our Cradle Mountain adventure and I don’t think you will be disappointed. An absolutely magical misty morning stroll in a King Billy Pine forest – one of the best photographic experienced I’ve ever had! If you don’t believe in faeries, you soon will, for surely this is where they dwell!
Be sure to come back – for something extra special.

21 thoughts on “Devils, Quolls and Wombats

  1. Thanks very much for the information on these animals! The Devil looks fierce but nothing like the devil I watched on TV as a kid! The Quoll is kind of cute. This is a great series! 😎👍🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, the quolls are actually fiercer, better hunters and more territorial than the devils, and they’ll take off your finger through the enclosure wire! Don’t let their cuteness fool you 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, thanks for the warning! They are possibly like the Badger that used to live in Michigan, my home state. I don’t think there are any left now but they are fierce.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Apparently the early settlers here used to call Wombats Badgers! The Quolls are kind of like small cats and they like to raid chook sheds. I’ve only ever seen two in the wild, and one was only a few months ago out on the main road from my place, only 300m through the bush from where I live. There’s also two rare white Bennett’s wallaby’s in our valley too, not albino, I’ve seen them but not been able to photograph them … yet.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, we were so lucky to have the place by ourselves, no jostling for position and plenty of time to watch their antics. I think he was sizing me up for dinner!


  2. Like many people, the only Tasmanian devil I was familiar with was the cartoon. The real ones look a lot different. 🙂 I never heard of quolls; they are cute! The wallaby is adorable. The wombats look so cuddly. Great photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, these devils don’t spin around 😉 Despite their rotund appearance, the wombats are pretty skinny underneath all that fur. There’s a lot of herbivores in the area and not much growth yet after winter.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I clicked on the Wiki link you provided and found out about the DFTD (Devils Facial Tumour Disease). It looks like a terrible affliction. Poor little things. I hope these animals can be saved from extinction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are now many isolated parks with breeding programs like this one, they swap devils for genetic diversity and try to keep them “wild” so they can be released again. They are pretty good breeders but about 75% of surviving young are male.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the fact that wombat poo is cube-shaped, so when we visited in 2016 I christened them the Kings of Cubes. I was interested to read your account wombat temperament; our experience was that they were laid back and relaxed. In fact, one one occasion, one of them walked straight between my wife’s legs! If you’re interested I blogged about her close encounter here:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great name for them! They seemed pretty chill and friendly to me too and somewhat inquisitive. I even snuck in a quick pat and discovered how thin they are. I visited your post and left you a comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Timothy, they each have a distinct personality 🙂 I’m glad they’re under my neighbours house and not mine, they can be very aggressively noisy, especially when mating.

      Liked by 1 person

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