Tasmanian Tiger Facts for Kids

Talking about Tasmanian Tiger facts for kids is like talking about a creature from the past. The Tasmanian Tiger once roamed Australia and New Guinea, however it has been extinct since 1936, making it almost like a myth.

Tasmanian Tigers hold cultural significance for the Tasmanian Aboriginal people, who have stories and legends about these animals. They are also an iconic symbol of Tasmania.

While they have been extinct for many years, they still fascinate the imaginations of many kids, and adults alike! Imagine a dog-like animal with a tail similar to a kangaroo and stripes like a tiger!

Let’s dive into some facts about Tasmanian Tigers including what they ate, what they looked like and where they lived. 

Make sure to have a look at all our other animal facts here!

What is a Tasmanian Tiger?

The Tasmanian Tiger is actually a marsupial called a Thylacine, but was known as the Tasmanian Tiger or Tasmanian Wolf. This animal was neither a tiger or a wolf, however it was closely related to the Tasmanian Devil, a much smaller marsupial, which still exists today. 

The Tasmanian Tiger was a marsupial, meaning they gave birth to live babies and carried their babies, also called joeys, in a pouch like a koala and kangaroo. Tasmanian Tigers would usually give birth to a small litter (2-4 joeys) and after they were born the joeys would crawl into the mum’s pouch. Mums could carry up to 4 babies in their pouch at one time, with the pouch expanding as the babies grew. 

The pouch of a tiger is a backwards facing one, similar to a wombat! It is thought that breeding happened in the winter and spring.

Fun Fact – The scientific name for Tasmanian Tiger is Thylacinus cynocephalus, which means “dog-headed pouched one”!

Need to know more for a school project? Have a look at this great range of books on this extinct creature. 

What did a Tasmanian Tiger look like?

Awesome facts for kids about Tasmanian Tiger

These fascinating animals almost looked like a dog, with yellowish fur, however it had 15-20 distinct stripes along their lower back, hence getting the name ‘tiger’. Their body was usually just over 1 metre long and could weigh up to 30 kg. They also had long stiff tails, similar to a kangaroo which added another 30-50 cm to their length. 

We have found some great Tasmanian Tiger toys for your room here. 

What did a Tasmanian Tiger sound like?

A tiger was generally a quiet animal with a small bark or howl, except when it was hunting. When it was hunting it would give two small yaps, similar to a terrier dog, which it would repeat every few seconds. 

How long did a Tasmanian Tiger live for?

It is thought that the Tasmanian Tiger lived between 5 and 7 years and longer in captivity. 

Where did the Tasmanian Tiger live?

Fascinating Tasmanian Tiger Facts for Kids for school projects

These animals used to live all across Australia and New Guinea, however around 2,000 years ago they disappeared from the mainland of Australia and New Guinea. They could still be found in the Australian state of Tasmania, hence why we call it the Tasmanian Tiger. 

The tiger preferred to live in the grassland and eucalypt forests, possibly because it could blend in well. 

Take a look at this great selection of books to learn more about Tasmania.

What did Tasmanian Tigers eat?

With their nocturnal nature and keen hunting skills, Tasmanian tigers used their keen sense of smell to hunt in the dark of the night.

They were carnivores and preyed on small to medium-sized animals like wallabies and rodents. They had an unusual jaw that was able to be opened to around 90 degrees, making it a perfect predator for smaller animals. It was originally thought that tigers hunted sheep, but new studies have shown that their jaws were not powerful enough to hunt such a large animal. 

When did they become extinct?

The last Tasmanian Tiger in captivity was called Benjamin and lived in a zoo in Hobart, Tasmania. He died in 1936. It was believed that while these animals were timid and easy to catch, that they often did not survive long after being caught, possibly due to the shock.

Tasmanian Tigers are thought to have died out due to competition with dingoes and human interaction, highlighting the need to protect the habitats of our endangered species. 

At one point there was a bounty for Tasmanian Tigers, which resulted in a rapid decline in numbers. Unfortunately their habitats were also good farming land and they were seen as a threat to stock, so were shot on sight. 

Are they really extinct?

Interesting Tasmanian Tiger Facts for Kids

While they are listed as extinct, there have been hundreds of claimed sightings of a tiger, however none has been confirmed.  You can see a specimen of the Tasmanian Tiger at the Natural Museum Australian, in Canberra. 

Despite being extinct, scientists continue to travel to Tasmania to hunt for any remaining animals, or the existence of their DNA to better understand their biology, behaviour, and extinction. This will help us to better preserve other endangered species in the future. 

Not sure they are really extinct? You will need a backpack if you are going hunting for them – take a look at these!

Last minute fun facts for you:

We have pretty much summed it all up for you, but here are a few last minute facts to keep you learning.

  • Tasmanian Tigers were thought to be the largest carnivorous marsupial of modern times.
  • In 1959 the Tasmanian Tiger was featured on an Australian postage stamp! The stamp cost 1 Shilling and 2 Pence, back before Australia had decimal currency. The currency changed to the Australian dollar in 1966.
  • The Tasmanian tiger has become a symbol of conservation efforts in Tasmania and beyond and serves as a great reminder of wildlife conservation. 

While the tiger is no longer with us, we can learn a lot from its life and existence in Australia. Animals such as the tiger are worth preserving and caring for to ensure their survival.

Animal facts for kids

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Hayley Mill

Hayley is a lover of life and has lived and worked overseas, including in Thailand, Austria and the UK. She has been writing since she can remember, with her favourite topics being travel (50+ countries and counting!) and her family. You can find her expertise on our Fun Facts About Places. She loves taking her family on adventures and believes travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you 'richer'. She has a double degree, Bachelor of International Business and Bachelor of Commerce from Griffith University, majoring in Marketing and Chinese language, but now speaks more German than Mandarin!

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