Cover for Saving the Tasmanian Devil, Scientists in the Field, HMH

Scientists from many fields are working hard to find ways to help the Tasmanian devil survive. This animal is the largest surviving carnivorous marsupial in the world. It lives in the wild only on the Australian island of Tasmania, where it hunts live prey but more importantly, it is a vital scavenger. With its especially strong jaws and sharp teeth, the devil can rip apart a carcass in minutes, chewing and even swallowing the bones as well as the meat.

In 1996, field researchers began seeing devils in the northeast of the island with terribly damaged faces. Before long, more and more devils were affected and the population began to drop. Alarmed scientists discovered that these animals were suffering from a fatal disease that was decimating the population.

In 2016 I traveled to Tasmania to learn about this special animal and meet not only the animals themselves but many of the scientists studying the disease and its victims and working to help it survive. The result of my trip is my book “Saving the Tasmanian Devil,” published in 2019. You can learn more about the book and buy a copy here. I’ve also focused on my experiences doing research for this book in my new Substack newsletter, “A Quirky Nature Newsletter.” Take a look!


  1. This looks like a wonderful book–congrats on its selection as an NSTA Best Book! I interviewed you many years ago for a story on writing science books for kids (for the journal BioScience). Well, I finally started working on my first picture book (a science/art/environment-themed biography) a few years ago, which I’m now submitting, and have ideas for more. I have followed the advice you gave me back then to “not quit my day job”–at least, not yet! 😉

    Elia Ben-Ari

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