Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Morpa, the delightful Tasmanian Devil!!

WILDLIFE park operator Dick Warren reckons he's got a world first -- a friendly Tasmanian devil that will let you put your finger in its mouth.

Morpa, who is about to celebrate his first birthday loves being nursed, cuddled, even kissed.

He is the grandson of an orphan, whose mother had succumbed to the dreaded devil facial tumour disease about five years ago.

"He's just a one-off," said Mr Warren, operator of the Tasmania Zoo -- Devils Heaven wildlife park at Bridgenorth, near Launceston.

"Isn't it cute how he licks my ears. It's just his personality."

But Morpa's sister, Snappy Tom (as her name suggests) does not share her brother's manners.

"She'll just growl at you," Mr Warren said.

"We bottle fed these two, she used to chew the teats in half."

Morpa is an Aboriginal word for devil.

Nowadays the not-quite-fully-grown twins thrive on roo meat, twice a day.

Mr Warren said the fact he had 30 healthy devils descended from facial tumour victims left him in no doubt that devils biting each other was the only way in which the disease was transmitted.

His solution to combat the disease is to put as many devils as possible into parks.

"We should have 200 here . . . it takes 1500 to make a gene pool," he said.

Mr Warren said he would welcome government help to build additional pens.

Source: Mercury

See also: Want to cuddle a tiger? You can ... at the Tiger Temple!
And this: Honey Badger, the most fearless animal in the world?

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