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Despite Only Having Four Nipples, Tasmanian Devils Will Often Have 50 Babies At A Time-- 46 Baby Devils Get Nary A Nipple So They Get Eaten By The Mother

Meg Jerrard. Unsplash Images.

Although they are solitary animals, Tasmanian devils will gather together to feed, often growling viciously at each other trying to scare off their competition. When they finish eating, there is nothing left of the carcass.

Tasmanian devils’ breeding season lasts from March to May. Female devils will mate with dominant males, who fight to gain their attention. Three weeks after conception, the females give birth to up to 50 babies, called joeys. These 50 extremely tiny joeys scramble to attach themselves to one of the four available teats in the mother’s pouch. Those that do not make it will not survive.

The remaining joeys will attach to the nipple in the pouch for roughly 3 months while they become fully developed. Like the wombat, the Tasmanian devil has a pouch that opens on the bottom to keep dirt out while traveling.

After the joeys leave their mother’s pouch, they remain hidden in the den for another 3 months. During this time the mother brings food to the young, and eventually the young devils begin venturing out on their own before finally leaving the den for good. They can live for up to 5 years in the wild.

Fuck, man. Nature can be so brutal. One minute, you and your 49 brothers and sisters are cruising towards life and heading down the ole birth canal. You're having a great time. Hell, there is gonna be a nipple for everyone when you get out. All your siblings will have their own way of feeding, relaxing, and enjoying each other's company. It's beautiful, right? Some say sharing is caring and that's exactly what needs to happen when so many Tasmanian devils need a nipple to suck on in order to live. 

But, then after just a few short weeks of a gestational period, you exit the hole, clean off your eyes and nose, and begin to look for a mid-morning snack. You get one of the first four nipples and look back at the rest of your siblings like

Giphy Images.

Wow. Big nipple energy after getting some of the nutrients, aren't we? Probably colostrum which from a Tasmanian devil could do some real good. If you didn't know, Tasmanian devil breast milk is incredibly nutritious. The marsupial's milk contains important peptides that appear to be able to kill hard-to-treat infections, including MRSA, according to a new study from the Sydney University team. Experts believe devils evolved this cocktail to help their young grow stronger. Scientists are even looking to make new treatments that mimic the peptide found naturally in devil milk. They have scanned the devil's genetic code to find and recreate the infection-fighting compounds, called cathelicidins which might have been developed over millions of years because devils live in the muck and mud. 

Keep that in mind the next time you see a Tasmanian devil mother eating 46 of her young. It's not because she hates her kids. It's because she only has four nipples and those things are filled to the brim with the best milk of any marsupial. Denying that is like denying climate change. You can do it but you'll look like such a piece of shit that deserves to have their ass whooped.