The Thylacine was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. It is commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger (because of its striped lower back) or the Tasmanian wolf. Native to Australia (particularly the southern island of Tasmania) and New Guinea, it is believed to have become extinct in the 20th century.
Here are 5 things you may not know about the Thylacine:
1. The Thylacine had a pouch in BOTH sexes
The Thylacine was one of only two marsupials to have a pouch in both sexes (the other being the water opossum). The male Thylacine had a pouch that acted as a protective sheath, covering his external reproductive organs while he ran through thick brush.The female thylacine had a pouch with four teats, but unlike many other marsupials, the pouch opened to the rear of its body. Males had a scrotal pouch, unique amongst the Australian marsupials, into which they could withdraw their scrotal sac.
One of only two known photos of a thylacine with a distended pouch, bearing young. Adelaide Zoo, 1889
2. The Thylacine had strange feet
Thylacine footprints could be distinguished from other native or introduced animals; unlike foxes, cats, dogs, wombats or Tasmanian devils. Thylacines had a very large rear pad and four obvious front pads, arranged in almost a straight line. The hindfeet were similar to the forefeet but had four digits rather than five. Their claws were non-retractable.
3. White settlers killed over 2000 Thylacines in Tasmania
The Thylacine survived into the 1930s on the island state of Tasmania. They were rarely sighted during this time but slowly began to be credited with numerous attacks on sheep. This led to the establishment of bounty schemes in an attempt to control their numbers. The Van Diemen’s Land Company introduced bounties on the thylacine from as early as 1830, and between 1888 and 1909 the Tasmanian government paid £1 per head. (the equivalent of £100 or more today) for dead adult thylacines and ten shillings for pups. In all they paid out 2,184 bounties, but it is thought that many more thylacines were killed than were claimed for. The last known thylacine to be killed in the wild was shot in 1930 by Wilf Batty, a farmer from Mawbanna, in the northeast of the state. The animal, believed to have been a male, had been seen around Batty’s house for several weeks.
4. The last captive Thylacine died in 1936
The last captive thylacine, later referred to as “Benjamin”, was trapped in the Florentine Valley by Elias Churchill in 1933, and sent to the Hobart Zoo where it lived for three years. The thylacine died on 7 September 1936. It is believed to have died as the result of neglect—locked out of its sheltered sleeping quarters, it was exposed to a rare occurrence of extreme Tasmanian weather: extreme heat during the day and freezing temperatures at night. The thylacine features in the last known motion picture footage of a living specimen: 62 seconds of black-and-white footage showing the thylacine in its enclosure in a clip taken in 1933, by naturalist David Fleay.
5. There have been over 3,800 Thylacine sightings on the Australian mainland since 1936
The Australian Rare Fauna Research Association reports having 3,800 sightings on file from mainland Australia since the 1936 extinction date, while the Mystery Animal Research Centre of Australia recorded 138 up to 1998, and the Department of Conservation and Land Management recorded 65 in Western Australia over the same period. Independent thylacine researchers Buck and Joan Emburg of Tasmania report 360 Tasmanian and 269 mainland post-extinction 20th century sightings, figures compiled from several sources. On the mainland, sightings are most frequently reported in Southern Victoria.
Sourced from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thylacine