Tasmanian Devils and Cancer

By | February 2, 2006

New Scientist recently ran an article on an unusual infectious cancer that has killed one third of the wild population of Tasmanian Devils. I took this picture of a Tasmanian Devil at the Tasmanian Devil Park and Wildlife Rescue Center in Taranna in Tasmania, Australia. Several of the Devils there had terrible facial scars along their snouts. It looked as if chunks of flesh had been torn away. I was told that the injuries were caused by other Devils at feeding time.

Supposedly, the Devils have terrible eyesite and they would accidentally bite each while ripping into the roadkill they were served for dinner. While the careless biting may have caused some of the damage, it now seems more likely that it just contributed to the spread of the cancer, and was not the direct cause of the wounds.

More photos from my trip to Tasmania, including a sleeping Devil.

One thought on “Tasmanian Devils and Cancer

  1. Anonymous

    infectious cancer is an oxymoron. Unless it is virus induced.


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