Are Tasmanian Devils Dangerous? (The Answer Is Yes!)

The Tasmanian Devil has a reputation as the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial, so it’s no wonder that most people are afraid of them.

However, recent research has suggested that Tasmanian Devils may not actually be as dangerous as they have been made out to be.

Are Tasmanian Devils Dangerous? (The Answer Is Yes!)

So, is the Tasmanian Devil just misunderstood, or is the widespread fear of this marsupial actually justified?

In this article, we’ll be discussing the Tasmanian Devil’s terrifying reputation and finding out whether these animals are really dangerous or not.

Why The Tasmanian Devil Is Dangerous

We’ll be getting into the reasons why the danger presented by the Tasmanian Devil may have been overblown by the media in a moment, but there are many valid reasons why people instinctively steer clear of these meat-eating marsupials.

Not only do Tasmanian Devils look pretty intimidating, resembling small bears, they also make some fairly alarming noises, such as howls and hisses, and even screams.

This is enough to make even the bravest of humans think twice before approaching.

Although the average Tasmanian Devil is only the size of a small dog, weighing between 13 and 18 lbs depending on sex, Tasmanian Devils have an incredibly powerful bite.

The bite of the Tasmanian Devil is powerful enough to cut through metal, which is a pretty terrifying thought.

The force of the Tasmanian Devil’s bite is what allows them to catch and kill large prey such as wallabies and sheep.

And if you think you could outrun a Tasmanian Devil if it came to it, you might need to think again.

While some of the fastest runners in the world can hit speeds of over 25 miles per hour, the average person can only run between 6.5 and 8 mils per hour.

In contrast, the Tasmanian Devil can run at speeds of 12 miles per hour, and it can keep running for over an hour at a time.

So, you probably wouldn’t want to have one of these animals chasing you down.

Basically, if it wanted to, a Tasmanian Devil could chase you for up to an hour and deliver a bite strong enough to literally crush your bones.

So, does the Tasmanian Devil have the potential to be dangerous?

The answer is absolutely yes – especially to animals that it views as prey, including rabbits, wombats, sheep, kangaroos, wallabies, reptiles, fish, birds, and various insects.

However, the more important question is whether Tasmanian Devils usually utilize their ability to inflict harm on humans, and that answer is far more complex, as we’re about to discuss.

Why You Don’t Need To Fear The Tasmanian Devil

As you can see from the information provided above, Tasmanian Devils can certainly be a force to be reckoned with.

Therefore, to say that the Tasmanian Devil is not dangerous would be misleading.

With that being said, it is important to note that despite their potential for aggression and their powerful physical defenses, Tasmanian Devils are generally not a threat to humans unless they think they are in danger.

Despite their fearsome reputation, the reality is that Tasmanian Devils are actually pretty docile when it comes to their interactions with humans.

Most will not attack humans if they cross their path. In fact, they are more likely to avoid them.

If a Tasmanian Devil does feel threatened by a human, their first line of defense is usually to open their jaws in what looks like a yawn – albeit a pretty intimidating yawn considering that their mouths are full of sharp teeth.

With that being said, this is actually something Tasmanian Devils do when they feel afraid rather than when they are being aggressive.

It’s basically their way of saying ‘leave me alone’, so if you see a Tasmanian Devil doing this and back off right away, you shouldn’t have any trouble.

The only time a Tasmanian Devil would use their nasty bite on a human would be if it felt the human was a real danger to them or their young, or if they felt trapped with no way of getting out of the situation.

How To Be Safe Around Tasmanian Devils

How To Be Safe Around Tasmanian Devils 

The best way to ensure your safety in the presence of one or more Tasmanian Devils is simply not to make them feel threatened.

As we’ve already discussed, Tasmanian Devils are typically not aggressive towards humans unless they feel that they or their young might be in danger, so if you don’t want to end up in a tussle with a tassie, you should do whatever you can to avoid making these animals feel cornered or endangered.

First of all, if you see a Tasmanian Devil, it’s best just not to interact with it.

These are wild animals and they just want to be left alone to live their lives, so if you spot one in the wild, go about your business and let it do the same.

The last thing you want to do is move towards a Tasmanian Devil, especially if it doesn’t have an easy escape route to get away from you.

This is likely to make it feel cornered and under threat, in which case, it may feel it has no alternative but to defend itself using its teeth.

The bottom line is, don’t back a Tasmanian Devil into a corner and you should be fine.

If you happen to stumble upon a Tasmanian Devil and accidentally make it feel scared, it will probably do the yawn-like face described in the section above.

The opening of the jaws in this way is a clear indication that the animal feels scared and threatened, and if you don’t back off, it may think that you intend to cause it harm.

This is the one situation in which humans can find themselves in trouble with Tasmanian Devils, so if one ‘yawns’ at you, make sure to retreat quickly and calmly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Has Anyone Been Killed By Tasmanian Devils?

The fact that there are no reliable statistics regarding human deaths at the hands (or paws) of the Tasmanian Devil should tell you how rare Tasmanian Devil attacks on humans are.

Tasmanian Devils will not attack humans unless provoked, and not many people would willingly get into a confrontation with an animal that can bite through metal, so Tasmanian Devil-related deaths are not something to worry about. 

Why Are Tasmanian Devils Dying?

Tasmanian Devil populations are dwindling due to Devil Facial Tumor Disease, which emerged in 1996 and is fatal to these animals in almost 100% of cases. 

Where Do Tasmanian Devils Live? 

Tasmanian Devils are only found on Tasmania, which is one of Australia’s island states.

Final Thoughts 

The bottom line is that while Tasmanian Devils are inherently dangerous animals due to their incredibly powerful bite, fast running speeds and taste for flesh, they are not likely to harm humans. 

It would be misleading to imply that the Tasmanian Devil is not a dangerous marsupial, because it has the potential to inflict significant harm, but it very rarely chooses to do so. The only time a Tasmanian Devil would harm a human is in self defense. 

So, are Tasmanian Devils dangerous? Yes, definitely. Do you need to be afraid of them? No, probably not. 

Olivia Kepner