Devil defamed

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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:30 am

The Tasmanian devil goes by the nickname “nature’s janitor�?, according to the UK Daily Telegraph’s Nick Squires. What an odd claim; we don’t use the word “janitor�? in Australia (not widely, at least; we prefer “cleaner�?.)

Squires seems to have confused our sweet Devil with the common North American opossum. Perhaps a fight could be arranged, devil vs. opossum, to decide who earns the prestigious janitor title.

Posted by Tim B. on 01/27/2005 at 08:19 AM
    1. The biggest difference between the two is that the Virginia Opossum is a rotten tempered little bastard. The Tasmanian Devil, on the other hand, suffers from species wide social anxiety. 🙂

      Posted by mythusmage on 01/27 at 08:26 AM • permalink


    1. After watching a documentary on the Devil last night, I came to the conclusion that they are the Bogan/Bevan/Westie of the animal kingdom. They scrounge off everyone else, their mating rituals are accompanied by howls and caterwauls and end in virtual rapine, they fight constantly, have terrible skin diseases and I’m certain if their stubby legs could reach the pedals they’d drive rusty VC Commodores and listen to Barnsie at high volume (who sounds remarkably like a randy Tasmanian Devil in full screech mode). And they live in Tasmania.

      Posted by Habib on 01/27 at 08:54 AM • permalink


    1. Seems like Habib beat me to it – 🙂 gawd – it raises the definition of animal behaviour to new heights

      Posted by Louis on 01/27 at 09:09 AM • permalink


    1. The funny thing is, the word “janitor” is not widely used in the UK either; they prefer “cleaner” or “caretaker”.

      Posted by jic on 01/27 at 10:27 AM • permalink


    1. When we (okay, maybe it’s just me) think “cleaner” here in the States we often mean a mobster who disposed of bodies. You know, ‘cause he “cleans” the crime scene.

      Like the Harvey Keitel character in Pulp Fiction.

      Posted by Birkel on 01/27 at 11:06 AM • permalink


    1. We think Sadie the cleaning lady.. in oz.

      Posted by crash on 01/27 at 11:10 AM • permalink


    1. Speaking of your odd Australian varments, is Australia missing a kangaroo?

      One was found weeks ago jumping around in the snows of Wisconsin near Dodgeville.

      First, there was a weird week during which kangaroo sightings were reported by various people who many considered had to be loony.

      Then a police officer reported seeing it.

      Finally it was actually caught and brought to a zoo in Madison.

      Authorities have still been unable to determine where it came from, and no owner has come forth. Today, some sort of specialist is going to check it for tatoos, microchips, UPC symbols, or maybe go through its pocket looking for ID.

      Story here:

      Posted by Ash on 01/27 at 01:28 PM • permalink


    1. Tasmania?
      Says it all!

      Posted by Boss Hog on 01/27 at 04:20 PM • permalink


    1. Ash, I remember a few kangaroo sightings in southern Wisconsin when I lived there back in the seventies.  Maybe there’s an illicit ‘roo-slave smuggling ring in the area, and periodically one escapes…

      Posted by Siergen on 01/27 at 07:30 PM • permalink


    1. When we (okay, maybe it’s just me) think “cleaner�? here in the States we often mean a mobster who disposed of bodies. You know, ‘cause he “cleans�? the crime scene.
      Like the Harvey Keitel character in Pulp Fiction.

      Sooo… the TDevil does fit.  And so does the American Opossum.  (Who says “opossum” anyway… drop the “o”).

      Posted by RebeccaH on 01/27 at 10:04 PM • permalink


    1. Rebecca is correct. Nobody says opossum in the states, its simply possum. I’ve come to the conclusion that possum’s are the dumbest animals in the kingdom. I’ve seen them stand on a train rail, looking at the train coming at them, for what seemed an eterity, and never make a move to get out of the way.  How they have survived in the world this long I have no idea.  I would have thought they’d have gone the way of the sloth by now.

      Posted by jvk on 01/27 at 10:43 PM • permalink


    1. Speaking as a Tasmanian, admittedly in exile on the big island, I would be most appreciative if people could be more sympathetic towards the devils. How would you like to be stuck in Tasmania without an opportunity to travel or even an internet connection to the wide world. They do their best under difficult circumstances, especially at present with the devil population under attack from a mystery disease.

      Posted by Rafe on 01/27 at 11:47 PM • permalink


    1. Like the Harvey Keitel character in Pulp Fiction.

      Even though he’s French, Jean Reno’s cleaner in Nikita is my all-time favourite.

      Posted by ArtVandelay on 01/27 at 11:48 PM • permalink


  1. sloths rule man…….king of the amazon.

    Posted by vinnyboombutts on 01/29 at 12:05 AM • permalink