Tasmanian devils are expert scavengers, with strong jaws and robust teeth that give them the notorious ability to eat almost all of a carcass — bones and all. Scientists have even found echidna spikes in their poo.
But regularly crunching through bone comes at a cost: extreme tooth wear. In our new study, we analysed the skulls of nearly 300 devils, and show how regularly crunching through bones wears a devil’s teeth down from sharp-edged weapons to blunt nubbins.
Tasmanian devils are endangered and their wild population is continuing to decline. A key part of conserving this marsupial is by maintaining healthy and happy devils in captivity. MORE
Header image: Captive Tasmanian devils are given a variety of foods to replicate what they’d find in the wild. This photo was taken during a carcass feed at Healesville Sanctuary. Credit: Zoos Victoria, Author provided.