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Bath time for Tasmanian devil rescued from oily mechanic’s pit

Judy Augustine, April 12, 2022 6:30PM Kids News

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Macca the young Tasmanian devil gets a bubble bath to remove the oil that seeped into his coat after spending three days trapped in a mechanic’s pit. Picture: Michael Eastwell media_cameraMacca the young Tasmanian devil gets a bubble bath to remove the oil that seeped into his coat after spending three days trapped in a mechanic’s pit. Picture: Michael Eastwell


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A Tasmanian devil has been given a five-star spa treatment after being rescued from an oily pit in a mechanic’s workshop.

Macca the devil got stuck in the mechanic’s pit in the Tasmanian town of Cressy and was covered in oil when he was finally plucked* to safety.

“He was in a mechanic’s pit, a pit below ground level where mechanics can stand and work on trucks,” said Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary director Greg Irons.

“We believe this devil had been there for three days.”

Breaking News Breaking News A Tasmanian devil gets a bath after becoming covered in oil. Pic:  Michael Eastwell. media_cameraMacca recovers from his ordeal trapped in the oily mechanic’s pit and his spa treatment to remove the oil from his coat. Picture: Michael Eastwell

Mr Irons said the pit contained a mix of water and oil, which could have been deadly if Macca had been able to lick the sludge* from his fur.

“It couldn’t actually lie down and groom itself, that probably saved its life,” Mr Irons said.

“When you picked him up it was like cleaning up a sponge, it was just seeping*.”

Once rescued, young Macca received the five-star treatment to remove the oil, with his rescuers having to watch their fingers.

“Two really good washes and rinses, then he had this really beautiful coat,” Mr Irons said.

“He could have been in a shampoo ad.”

Devil bath

Mr Irons warned that more young devils were out exploring at this time of year and could find themselves in strange places.

“If you’ve got old paint cans and old oil cans, animals will investigate and then clean themselves and then they’ll be dead,” he warned.

“It’s a time to be extra cautious.”


  • plucked: quickly or suddenly removed from a dangerous or unpleasant situation
  • sludge: thick, soft, wet mud or a similar substance
  • seeping: oozing


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  1. What nickname was given to this Tasmanian devil?
  2. Which Tasmanian town did this happen in?
  3. What substances did the mechanics pit contain?
  4. How long was the Tasmanian devil stuck in the pit?
  5. Apart from being removed from the pit, what saved the Tassie devil’s life?


1. Write a Story
Imagine that you could interview Macca about his experiences. Write four questions that you would ask him. Then, write the answer that you think that he would give you.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English

2. Extension
Create a poster. The purpose of you poster is to help people understand ways to keep Tasmanian devils safe.

Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Science

Read this!
A headline on an article – or a title on your text – should capture the attention of the audience, telling them to read this now. So choosing the perfect words for a headline or title is very important.

Create three new headlines for the events that took place in this article. Remember, what you write and how you write it will set the pace for the whole text, so make sure it matches.

Read out your headlines to a partner and discuss what the article will be about based on the headline you created. Discuss the tone and mood you set in just your few, short words. Does it do the article justice? Will it capture the audience’s attention the way you hoped? Would you want to read more?

Consider how a headline or title is similar to using short, sharp sentences throughout your text. They can be just as important as complex ones. Go through the last text you wrote and highlight any short, sharp sentences that capture the audience.

Extra Reading in animals