What Are Some Facts About Tasmanian Tigers?


Quick Answer

The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine as it was known, was actually not a tiger. It got its name from its unique stripes that were similar to a tiger's or hyena's. As a marsupial, the Tasmanian tiger was closely related to kangaroos, koala bears and wombats. It was the largest known carnivorous marsupial to have existed in modern times. It has been extinct since the 1930s.

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Full Answer

Similar to kangaroos, Tasmanian tigers were capable of hopping on two feet, rather than running on four legs like the canines they resembled. Both female and male Tasmanian tigers also had pouches that were similar to kangaroos, with a few differences. The males had pouches that could hide their scrotal sac during times of danger, and female Tasmanian tigers had pouches with four teats that opened at their hindquarters. The animal that is most similar to the Tasmanian tiger is the banded anteater, more commonly known as the wombat.

Tasmanian tigers had a very distinct footprint with a substantial rear pad and four clear front pads arranged in a nearly horizontal line. Although Tasmanian tigers had a keen sense of smell, their brain was not developed enough to correlate smell with prey when hunting. Research indicates that they used their sight and hearing to hunt.

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