The Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus) is an extinct Australian marsupial mammal. It was also called Tasmanian Wolf. It was not a tiger, nor a wolf, nor a dog (canid). It was a dog-like animal with stripes called a Thylacine. Extinct means that it is no longer living. The species has died out.
The Tasmanian Tiger was sandy-coloured with short soft hair and dark stripes on its back and its long tail. It had a pouch (similar to kangaroos and other marsupial mammals) to care for its young. Both male and female Tasmanian Tigers had a pouch, but only females had mammary glands in her pouch. It has a dog-like snout, round ears, and dark eyes. It had dog-like paws.
It grew to about 100-130 centimetres (39-51 inches) long with a tail measuring 50-65 centimetres (20-26 inches).
It was nocturnal and carnivorous, eating kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, possums, and birds at night.
It was originally thought that the Tasmanian Tiger was related to the Dingo or the Tasmanian Devil. Scientists now think that the closest relative of the Tasmanian Tiger is the Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus), which is also known as the Banded Anteater. The Dingo, the Tasmanian Devil, and the Numbat are all still living species – they are extant (alive, surviving).
The last Tasmanian Tiger died in captivity in 1936 in Tasmania. It originally inhabited mainland Australia and New Guinea, but from the late 19thcentury (about 2,000 years ago) it was only sighted in Tasmania.
The extinction of the Tasmanian Tiger in Australian is used to highlight that many animal species are also dying out – becoming extinct. Since 1788, scientists estimate that hundreds of species of animals in Australia have become extinct. These include 50 bird and mammal species and 4 frog species. This highlights the importance of animal conservation.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM