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The Tasmanian tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus) was a marsupial that is now extinct. Also known by the name of "thylacine," these mostly nocturnal kangaroo relatives had physical similarities to dogs. The "tiger" component of the species' name comes from the animals' noticeably striped coats. In terms of basic diet, the carnivorous Tasmanian tigers ate meat, meat and more meat.
Tasmanian Tiger Background Information
Tasmanian tigers were Tasmanian native animals that historically roamed not just the island of Tasmania, but also Australia's mainland continent. The total mainland disappearance of these marsupials may have been a result of the introduction of the dingo, an animal species which may have preyed on them, and thus completely decimated them as a whole. The newest Tasmanian tiger fossils date back to around 2,200 years ago. Tasmanian tigers did not go extinct on Tasmania until much, much later -- the fall of 1936, to be exact. The continued thriving may have been because Tasmania was and is 100 percent dingo-free. Their extinction eventually occurred in Tasmania due to the presence of sheep farmers from Europe. Since Tasmanian tigers frequently preyed on sheep, farmers reacted, in turn, by killing them.
Tasmanian Tiger Diet
Tasmanian tigers, according to the Museum Victoria, were carnivorous animals that ate primarily wallabies and kangaroos -- both fellow marsupials. Tasmanian tigers also consumed a lot of birds, goats, bandicoots, rats, emus, wombats and bats. Once the Europeans started migrating to Tasmania, these rather meek marsupials also ate poultry, hens and sheep -- the latter of which contributed to its ultimate extinction. In times of scarce live prey, Tasmanian tigers may have also consumed rotting carcasses too.
Tasmanian Tiger Captive Diet
Tasmanian tigers that resided in captive environments such as zoos ate mostly wallabies, rabbits, mutton and beef. Captive Tasmanian tigers were in no way choosy about their sustenance, and generally readily ate whatever food they were offered.
These marsupials had very keen olfactory senses, and utilized this to their advantage whenever hunting for prey. They were very persistent whenever following prey, and would keep up with the stalking until the animal eventually and inevitably tired out. Tasmanian tigers were not rapid chasers, so their endurance was paramount to achieving hunting success. They would hunt either by themselves or with one partner.
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