I’ve accidentally trapped a Tasmanian devil
If you have accidentally trapped a Tasmanian devil:
It’s a good idea to cover the trap with a blanket, towel or similar. This will help to calm the animal. If you have a dog, restrain it out of sight, scent, and sound range.
If it’s safe have a look (without touching or handling the devil) to assess body condition. Be careful because all animals can bite when they are scared.
For hygiene reason we recommend that you wear gloves when handling the trap, and give it a good clean afterwards.
If the devil does not appear diseased and is otherwise healthy, or if it has lumps on its face but generally has a healthy body condition (no visible ribs), then we recommend the devil be released.
Devils should always be released at the site of capture to avoid spreading Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) through the landscape and to avoid separating lactating females from their dependent young who may be denned nearby.
Even with DFTD, a devil who is otherwise in good health can live long enough to finish raising young.
Some devils will have a freeze response to the fear associated with being caught in a trap and may therefore remain motionless.
Keep your fingers away from the animal and leave the devil to exit the trap of its own accord. It is quite normal for a devil to wait until dark to exit the trap. If this is the case, come back after dark and check the trap is empty.
If the devil appears very thin (ribs and backbone prominent), please contact Bonoroong Wildlife Rescue on 0447 264 625.
I’ve found a Tasmanian devil on my property
Occasionally Tasmanian devils will take shelter or refuge in a shed, garage, under a car or some other accessible part of your residence during the day. If you find a devil:
- Be careful because all animals can bite when they are scared.
- If you have a dog, ensure it is restrained out of sight, scent, and sound range until the devil has moved on noting that devils may be reluctant to move until nightfall.
- The devil should be left alone, with a clear exit, to leave of its own accord. Even with DFTD, an otherwise healthy devil can live long enough to finish raising young and may have dependent young waiting in a den for their return.
- If the devil appears very thin (ribs and backbone prominent) please contact the Bonoroong Wildlife Rescue on 0447 264 625.
See more information (including interactions with livestock and poultry) at Living with Tasmanian Devils and Quolls.
I have a Tasmanian devil under my house
Devils can go under houses and other buildings to:
Escape from predators such as people, dogs and other devils (opportunistic and usually temporary)
Take food to eat in seclusion (opportunistic and usually temporary)
Shelter during the day, especially dispersing young (opportunistic and usually temporary)
Breed and raise young (these are occupied most of the year and can be traditional)
Devils often use areas under houses and other buildings without being noticed because they can be extremely shy, secretive and are nocturnal (active at night). The presence of devils may, however, be noticed by occupants (including family pets) due to noises in the form of growling, squealing, and thumping, and are most commonly heard during the mating season (typically March to April) or when young devils are preparing for dispersal (October to January).
In most cases devil use of spaces under houses and other buildings is opportunistic and temporary. It is very rare for devils to cause structural damage, and pets, particularly dogs, are far more likely to harm devils than vice versa.
If you are concerned about devils denning under your house, please contact the STDP at DevilEnquiries@nre.tas.gov.au.
I've found an orphaned or injured Tasmanian devil
These four steps will increase the chances of successful release back into the wild (noting to be careful because all animals, particularly adult devils, can bite when they are scared):
- Keep the animal warm, dark and quiet;
- Do not feed it anything, as often this can do more harm than good;
- Keep handling to a minimum; and
- Keep away from people and domestic animals.
It is best for the animal to be looked after by an experienced wildlife rehabilitator with experience, skills, capacity and appropriate facilities to rehabilitate it for release back into the wild.
As a protected species, special permits and experience are required to possess or care for a Tasmanian devil beyond first-aid.
I’ve found a roadkilled devil
Through reporting roadkilled devils, you can help us to understand the extent and patterns of devil roadkill, determine target areas for mitigation, monitor the spread of DFTD across the State, and determine the presence of devils in areas heavily impacted by DFTD.
But remember, safety first!
NEVER put yourself in danger
DO NOT stop unless safe to do so
Other details you may observe and report include the sex of the devil, whether you think it has facial tumours, and if it is a juvenile or adult.
See more information about wildlife roadkill at Sharing the Road with Wildlife.
Urgent welfare concerns regarding injured, orphaned or unwell devils:
Call the Bonoroong Wildlife Rescue on 0447 264 625.