A native to the Australian island state Tasmania, the Tasmanian Devil is the only extant member of the genus Sarcophilus. The size of a small dog, but stocky and muscular, the Tasmanian Devil is now the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world after the extinction of the Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) in 1936. It is characterised by its black fur, offensive odour when stressed, extremely loud and disturbing screech, and ferocity when feeding. It is known to both hunt prey and scavenge carrion, and although it is usually solitary, it sometimes eats with other devils.
Tasmanian Devils are widespread and fairly common throughout Tasmania. Found in all habitats on the island, including the outskirts of urban areas, they particularly like dry sclerophyll forests and coastal woodlands. The Tasmanian Devil is a nocturnal and crepuscular hunter, spending the days in dense bush or in a hole. Young devils can climb trees, but this becomes more difficult as they grow larger. Devils can also swim. They are predominantly solitary animals and do not form packs. They occupy territories of 8–20 km², which can overlap considerably amongst different animals.
First seen in 1995, devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) has ravaged Tasmania's wild devils, and estimates of the impact range from 20% to as much as a 50% decline in the devil population with over 65% of the State affected. Affected high-density populations suffer up to 100% mortality in 12–18 months. The species was listed as vulnerable under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 and the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in 2006.