Many great legends have their origin in fact and the Tasmanian Devil is no exception. Now extinct in Australia, the large-toothed and carnivorous devil survives on the southern Australian island state of Tasmania. It was named for its ferocious snarl and bad temper and with its large squarish head and stout body, it looks somewhat like a small bear. Playing on these themes, one of the most endearing and popular of the Warner Brothers characters was born in 1954 when “Devil May Hare” debuted. Whirling like a small tornado, the Tasmanian Devil plowed his way through shrubbery, jungle, and boulders in order to find his next meal. In a pattern that would become well known, frightened animals stamped in terror before him while only the clever Bugs Bunny remained calm, managing to eventually outwit the fierce but hapless Taz.
He may not be the most clever of the cartoon characters, but he remains an absolute icon in tattoo symbolism because of the tremendous energy and enthusiasm that is his persona. In fact, he’s even a bit of an innocent, often easily duped by the rascally rabbit. While he may be constantly in search of the next tasty morsel, his strategies are completely in the present, with his instincts leading him, not malice. Like other popular tattoo symbols, Taz is versatile and adaptable to the circumstances, sometimes wearing a sailor’s cap or other times a Hawaiian lei. Of course when he’s toting his favorite beverage and obviously ready to party, it’s probably in everybody’s best interest not to argue.