Devil in Disguise

Dear Friends,

This week I visited the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park at Tarrana. It’s on the Tasman Peninsula in south eastern Tasmania. I’ve seen photos of Tassie Devils before and they always look so cute and cuddly. I was looking forward to meeting them in person.

These three devils were out for a morning walk and at first they were friendly enough.

But I wasn’t so sure when one decided to show his toothy smile. Nevertheless I decided to find out more about my new friends and ventured into the inside out exhibit.

The Devil Den is an exhibit with a difference where the visitors are on the inside and the devils are on the outside looking in. These perspex domes are placed at ground level and the Tassie Devils come right up close to see who is watching. This little fellow was very friendly and we bonded instantly, so much so that he invited me to come for a meal later in the day.

I did think that “feeding time” was an odd expression for lunch but being the sociable beaver that I am, and not one to turn down an invitation, I accepted.

I followed the directions I’d been given and found myself at the old farm exhibit right on time for lunch. The park keeper was there ready to serve the meal and when he did I felt decidedly queasy. It was a big chunk of some poor furry animal, and judging by the devils’ reaction it was one of their favourites.

I was even more appalled by their complete lack of table manners. It was a three way tug of war, with each devil hanging on as if their life depended on it, and the grunts and growls were positively fiendish. In the blink of an eye the whole meal was gone – fur, flesh and bones completely devoured and not a scrap left over. No wonder they have such fearsome looking teeth.

It was then that I began to wonder – had I been invited to lunch as a guest, or as the second course? I decided that on this occasion discretion would definitely be the better part of valour and I left quickly and quietly while the devils were digesting their meal.

As I was leaving the Conversation Park I came across another Tasmanian Devil. This one was more my type – cute, cuddly…

…and not a tooth to be seen!

Justin.

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