Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Keaton. Keaton Wonders, “Why don't other people keep Tasmanian Devils as pets?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Keaton!

Do you ever watch cartoons? Many kids think that’s the best thing to do on a Saturday morning. They laugh along to Spongebob Squarepants. They go on adventures with Steven Universe. Some even watch old Bugs Bunny cartoons! Do you fall into this group? Then you probably know about the Tasmanian Devil. 

In cartoons, the Tasmanian devil is a spinning, growling, ferocious creature. Called “Taz,“ he has quite the temper. However, he is calmed by music. Would you believe that the character is based on a real animal? It’s true! 

Tasmanian devils are real. They live on the island state of Tasmania in Australia. And real Tasmanian devils aren’t much different from the cartoon character! They’re about the size of small dogs and are the largest meat-eating marsupials in the world.

Would you like to see a Tasmanian devil in the wild? If you do, be sure to keep your distance. Tasmanian devils are known for being cranky. They don’t usually attack human beings. However, they will defend themselves if they feel threatened. They will also fight to defend their food.

Where did the Tasmanian devils get their name? It came from European settlers. Europeans started moving to Tasmania in 1803. They saw these animals screeching and growling. After a while, the settlers gave them the name “devil.”

Tasmanian devils are solid and muscular. They have brown or black fur and a unique, strong smell. They also have large heads and necks. Many people think they look like small bears! They also have one of the strongest bites of any mammal on Earth. 

Tasmanian devils can also run long distances quickly. They can even climb trees and swim across rivers. Tasmanian devils tend to live alone instead of in groups. They are also nocturnal, only going out at night to hunt for food.

Speaking of food, Tasmanian devils will eat just about any type of meat. They prey on snakes, birds, fish, and insects. Tasmanian devils also eat the remains of dead animals. And when they eat, they eat everything. That includes hair, organs, and even bones!

It may sound kind of gross, but Tasmanian devils provide a useful service by eating sick and dead animals. By doing so, they help stop diseases from spreading. They also help keep populations of certain species in check.

There used to be many Tasmanian devils throughout Australia. Today, they are only found on the island state of Tasmania. In the past 20 years, a  type of cancer called Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) has killed tens of thousands of Tasmanian devils. As of 2008, they are considered endangered

The Tasmanian government is trying to save the Tasmanian devils. Today, they can be seen in zoos across the world. Would you like to meet a Tasmanian devil? Many people would rather just watch Taz spin around on Looney Tunes!

Standards: NGSS.LS1.A, NGSS.LS1.C, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.3, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.SL.1

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