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Tim May

Tasmanian devil; Tring Zoological Museum; 30th December 2010

Tasmanian devil; Tring Zoological Museum; 30th December 2010
Tim May, 31 Dec 2010
    • Chlidonias
      that's the skinniest devil mount I've ever seen! If the head was covered I wouldn't have had a clue what animal it was supposed to be!
    • Pertinax
      Very un-lifelike. Lacking the 'top-heavy' head and shoulders and low-slung appearance, plus pretty faded too.
    • Jordan-Jaguar97
      It doesn't look like a 'typical' Tasmanian devil. Aren't they more a darker colour?
    • Chlidonias
      they are. As Pertinax said it is very very faded (as old museum specimens are wont to do)
    • Hix
      I would have thought a marten or fisher or something similar. As it was, when I saw the thuimbnail I thought "badly stuffed wolverine".

      Maybe this is where Warner Bros got their idea for a brown Tasmanian Devil for the cartoons - in the life they're black.


    • Pertinax
      Yep. They are black apart from the white crescent on the chest. A huge head and shoulders and weak little hindquarters. Look a bit like toads!
    • IanRRobinson
      It seems odd for me to think that people haven't seen Devils at London, then I have to remember that they left the collection over 20 years ago..
    • Tim May
      I am somewhat surprised that my Tasmanian devil photograph has generated so many comments.

      I agree, of course, that this specimen is poorly mounted and very faded. Nevertheless, I thought it was an interesting shot as it gave a good view of the teeth.

      Like the majority of specimens in this fascinating museum, I assume that this one is very old. I don’t know when this particular specimen was acquired but Lord Walter Rothschild, who founded the museum, died in 1937 and most of the museum’s display material was obtained decades before his death.

      It's a long while since I last saw a living Tasmanian devil. I've seen the species many times at London Zoo and also several times elsewhere (Cologne, Rotterdam, Los Angeles); unfortunately, I doubt I'll see one again in the near future, unless I make a trip to Copenhagen.
    • DavidBrown
      It is interesting that they are so rare in the zoo world. There was one in San Diego in the fairly recent past (less than 10 years ago). I wonder why there are so few? With the disease crisis threatening them in the wild this seems like a species that zoos could genuinely serve as a backup population for.

      Do they not do well in captivity outside of Australia in terms of longevity and/or not reproducing?
    • Tim May
      The book "Longevity of Mammals in Captivity" (Richard Weigl; 2005) lists the following longevity records for this species:-

      (i) Male at Rotterdam Zoo from 4th July 1981 until it died on 20th August 1993

      (ii) Male at Rotterdam Zoo from 4th July 1981 until 14th November 1991 when it was sent to Singapore, where it died 6th May 1992

      I must have seen both of these animals several times on visits to Rotterdam Zoo during the 1980s.
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    Tring Natural History Museum
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    Tim May
    31 Dec 2010
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