At the ripe old age of six and a half, our Strangely Beautiful Australia resident gentleman, Herod, requires a little extra care and special attention. Considered an old man in Tasmanian devil years, their life expectancy is between five and six years old – but with all that zoos have learnt about how to best care for them, they are surpassing their wild life expectancy.

As Herod continues being an important advocate for his endangered species, it’s vital we ensure Herod’s quality of life on a daily basis. Carnivore Keeper Nick Parashchak says it’s important to check his body condition, how he moves, whether he is hungry and if he eats well. Some days Herod enjoys a tug of war when being fed his meals, which helps his keepers check his movement, appetite, and that he’s acting like his normal self. Other days his food gets hidden or hung up around the exhibit to encourage Herod to hunt for his dinner!


Our elderly devil Herod receives lunch and a check up!

As is inevitable with all living things, our animals can reach an age where they require a greater level of care and attention, which is the case with our Tassie statesman Herod.

Our keepers get to know the animals under their care so well that they can tell if something isn’t right, just by recognising any little signs like tiredness, inactivity, behavioural changes, loss of appetite, or changes in their movement.

Wild animals are hard-coded to hide their pain, which is why being able to recognise any subtle changes is key to ensuring their welfare - which, at Auckland Zoo, is our top priority. On a more personal level, when you love something dearly, like Nick does Herod, it becomes a personal mission to ensure your buddy is living a happy and fulfilled life.

Visit one of our devil keeper talks each Wednesday and Saturday and you can see Herod, our two newest devils Levi and Smiley and learn more from our keepers about why we have these incredible and endangered marsupials at our zoo.