Very few observational studies were carried out on wild or captive thylacines; we therefore know very little about their natural ecology and behaviour (3). These carnivores are reported to have been mainly solitary and nocturnal (4), although small groups probably consisting of a mother and her offspring have been reported (3). Due to conflicting reports, there is some controversy as to whether breeding occurred more often in the summer or winter. Litters of up to four young were possible due to the four teats within the female's backwards-opening pouch (3). Young remained in the pouch for around four months (7) and then were probably left in a den whilst the mother went on hunting forays; the young may have joined her on these trips when they were older (2). Thylacines were carnivorous and are likely to have preyed upon kangaroos, small rodents and birds (4). Some reports suggest that these mammals hunted by pursuing their prey over great distances until it tired (3). Thylacines became notorious for killing sheep once European settlers began to farm, a factor that was at the forefront of their persecution. The thylacine is reported to have a fairly stiff gait, but is also believed to have been an agile animal and had been seen standing on its hind legs, supported by its tail in a manner resembling a kangaroo (3).
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