How many times have you come across these special Tasmanian tiger facts including the extinct tasmanian tiger diet, habitat, and behavior. The largest carnivore marsupial, Tasmanian tiger (thylacine) is also known as Tasmanian wolf.
Tasmanian wolves are endemic to New Guinea and Tasmania in the continental Australia. It follows that they had become extinct by the mid 20th century. Scientists have discovered numerous fossils that tells the story of Tasmanian tigers in early Miocene.
Tasmanian tiger is thought to be the last existing species among its family. They had disappeared before the European settled in Australia; however, it continued to exist in Tasmania along with other animals.
The primary cause of the population decline is hunting at massive scale. Other causes include epidemic diseases, emergence of wild dogs, and habitat loss. These tigers were considered to be apex predators.
Tasmanian wolves did not resemble placental mammals but they shared general adaptations with these mammals. Tasmanian devil is believed to be its closest relative which is still existing.
Tasmanian tigers first emerged some 4 million years before. By the end 20th century, last seven Tasmanian tigers fossils were discovered in the northwest Queensland. Depending on the species, the tigers vary in size, skeletons, and skins.
- The thylacines looked like short-haired dog that has a rigid tail.
- European settlers believe that the cat earned its name ‘tiger’ probably because it featured 13 – 21 streaks on the back and tail. The streaks are more prominent in younger Tasmanian tigers.
- They have thick body hair with a length measuring up to 15mm (3.1 inches).
- The ears are 8 cm (3.1 inches) long and they are shielded with brown fur.
- The length of an adult Tasmanian tiger is 100 – 130 cm (39 – 51 inches), excluding tail.
- They have a tail of about 50 -65 cm (20 – 26 inches).
- The largest Tasmanian tiger was measured at 290 – cm (9.5 feet) including tail.
- They stood 60 cm (24 inches) tall at the shoulder with a weight measuring at 20 – 30 kg (40 – 70 lb).
- Females are slightly smaller in comparison to the males.
- The female has four-teat pouch that opens from the back of its body.
- Tasmanian wolves were able to open their jaws up to 120 degrees which is unusual in marsupial family.
- They had 46 teeth but they were too weak.
- They had remarkable vision and hearing sense. The Tasmanian Tiger used to hunt prey by using its sight. The smelling sense was probably not as good as other senses.
- They had clumsy gait that does not provide enough support to run fast.
- When provoked, they produce sounds like hiss and growl. However, these sounds were then in a series while hunting.
- Little is known about the behavior of Tasmanian tigers. Tasmanian wolves were nocturnal.
Tasmanian Tiger Habitat and Range
- Tasmanian tigers used to live in wetlands, grasslands, and eucalyptus forests of continental Australia. They lived all throughout New Guinea.
- They were mostly found in the coastal heath and woodlands. They had a normal habitat range of 40 – 80 sq. km (15 – 31 sq. mi). Tigers were not territorial.
- They used to spend most of the daytime in hollow tree trunks or small caves. Tasmanian tiger was usually regarded as hesitant species in that it tended to disappear when one approaches.
- Tasmanian tigers were carnivorous and their stomach was capable to hold large amounts of food in one attempt. This makes a lot of sense since the time when there was not sufficient food and they had to go by days without eating.
- They hunted in small groups. The tiger’s diet includes wallabies, wombats, kangaroos, possums, potoroos, as well as birds.
- They had relatively weak jaws. They could not kill animals weighing up to 5 kg (11 lb).
- They were at the verge of extinction about 2,000 years ago in Australia possibly due to excessive hunting by native people living in New Guinea.
- At present, they have been disappeared completely but according to some observers they have come across sightings of Tasmanian tigers; however, it is not confirmed.
- While their extinction began as early as 2,000 years ago, some of them still continued to survive by 1930s in the state of Tasmania. European settlers were believed to be the first ones to hunt Tasmanian wolves.
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