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9 May 2013

This month’s animal profile takes a look at Rex, the loveable and inquisitive 4-year old Tasmanian Devil.  Keeper Monika Zabinskas took time out of her busy schedule to shed a bit of light on these amazing creatures.

“They’ve got one of the strongest jaw pressures of all land mammals and use it to scavenge and eat all parts of their food including the fur.”

“He loves eating chicken and eggs and sometimes as a bit of a treat we will give him blood ice blocks which he really enjoys.”

Rex’s curious nature has quickly made him into a favourite amongst keepers, sniffing at their boots when they enter his enclosure.

“He can be feisty to handle but is often timid when we enter his enclosure, often running back to his den to watch us quietly,” Monika explained, “He’s not aggressive or defensive, just curious.”

Tasmanian Devils are critically endangered in the wild due to a contagious cancer known as Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) which has wiped out more than 85% of the wild population. Rex forms a vital part of Healesville Sanctuary’s breeding program and is now the proud father of a female joey born last year.

“Being an adult male, Rex lives by himself, however, during breeding season he has shown that he is quite bold with the females but at the same time he’s also gentle, providing bedding to cover his mate.”