Meet Night Safari’s Devils: 4 Tasmanian Devils debut in new Wallaby exhibit

Snickers giving us a big yawn. Photo: Mandai Wildlife Group
Snickers giving us a big yawn. Photo: Mandai Wildlife Group

After four long years, the small but feisty Tasmanian Devils have arrived in Singapore.

Four female Devils named Crumpet, Snickers, Jesse and Panini are now accepting visitors at the Night Safari in their new Wallaby Trail enclosure.

The quartet is all around three years old.

“It is a privilege to work with Save the Tasmanian Devil Programme and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania and be able to join the international team that works to save the Devils from extinction,” Dr Luis Carlos Neves, Mandai Wildlife Group’s Vice President of Animal Care, said in a news release.

“Our newest residents, Crumpet, Snickers, Jesse and Panini will be important ambassadors to help raise awareness about the plight of their wild counterparts,” Neves added.

Talks to bring the Devils to the nocturnal zoo began in 2018 but got delayed due to the pandemic. Night Safari’s team even traveled to Tasmania in 2019 to train with the animal care teams in the Save the Tasmanian Devil Programme and the Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary in Mole Creek, Australia. 

The endangered species eventually arrived on Oct. 7, with supervision from the sanctuary’s representative keeper.

The nocturnal animals were then quarantined for 30 days in their dens before being acclimatized to their new habitat which has two indoor and outdoor exhibits, and a back area for them to rest. 

Plenty of nature fixtures like rockwork, water features, eucalyptus and shrubs are built to help them feel at home. Eucalyptus trees – often called gum trees – are icons of the Australian flora.

Save the Devils

The Devils are brought over with the help of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania under the Save the Tasmanian Devil Programme (STDP). 

The program is an Australian initiative to counter the rampant Devil Facial Tumour Disease, a highly contagious transmissible cancer that results in large facial tumors in the Devils when they bite one another, fight or mate. The tumors will grow until it prevents them from eating and eventually die from starvation. 

At least 80% of the wild population has declined due to the disease since 1996.

Don’t be deceived by cuteness

The petite mammal looks harmless and cute until it shows its set of devilish fangs. 

The zoo described them as “small in stature but big in personality.” Their growling, screaming and screeching could likely be the reason for their eccentric name.

Razak Jaffar, Mandai Wildlife Group’s Assistant Curator for marsupials, said that Crumpet is “confident” and “more dominant” than the rest. She also does not like getting manhandled. 

Snickers is “much more reserved” and “calmer” when being handled.

While Jesse and Panini started off rocky with plenty of squabbling and wide-mouthed wailing, the duo now enjoys each other’s company and even sleeps in the same box. Aw.

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