QUOLLS

How can you resist an animal called a quoll? The quoll – a carnivorous marsupial – is about the size of a cat, but even cuter (if possible). Here’s one:

As you’ll have noticed, this quoll is spotted – hence its name, Dasyurus maculatus. For reasons best know to Aussies, it used to be called the Tiger Cat. The spotted tail quoll (above), Dasyurus maculatus maculatus, is found in eastern Australia, down to Tasmania, mainly in rainforest and wet forest. Another subspecies lives in northern coastal regions.

Quolls are currently endangered because of habitat fragmentation (which includes its den sites), competition from feral mammals and its unfortunate habit of eating cane toads, a giant introduced species that is poisonous. They prey on birds as well as toads, and will fight with the extremely scary Tasmanian Devil over food. They are nocturnal (hence the spots, I would guess) and will utter a very scary piercing scream if disturbed. (Photos from ARKive):

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They have two colour phases – ginger/brown (above) and black:

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This video shows one eating:

There is another quoll, the Eastern Quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus), which now appears to be limited to Tasmania. And there is a Northern Quoll, Dasyurus hallucatus. And there are two species of quolls found in New Guinea. [EDIT: See Comment by Chris for more details!]

Quolls do not have pouches like a kangaroo, but an area of skin around the teats grows to create a flap of skin that contains the young. To tell the reproductive status of a female quoll, you  look into the “pouch”. In the follicular phase, the area turns red, while post-ovulation it becomes wet and deep. This is also true of the Tasmanian Devil, though probably a bad idea, as the Devil has Very Big Teeth. This abstract describes the procedure in more detail… I wouldn’t try it at home, though.

If you’re in Australia and spot a quoll (or want to!), go here.

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2 Comments

Filed under Marsupials, Uncategorized

2 responses to “QUOLLS

  1. Great little piece! :)

    The New Guinea quolls are named – the New Guinea Quoll and the Bronze Quoll.

    Australia has a fourth quoll species – the Western Quoll, also known as Chudditch.

    The Eastern quoll was last seen on mainland Australia in January 1963 – a roadkilled specimen at Nielsen Park in the inner city suburb of Vaucluse. Although there is not much evidence for it, some people theorise that a disease swept through quoll populations in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The city and suburbs of Sydney would have effectively shielded Nielsen Park from quoll populations throughout the rest of the state, being one explanation for this most unusual location providing the species’ last stand.

    As part of my informal research into mainland quolls I’ve heard many very interesting stories. These include sightings right up to 2006, roadkill specimens in Victoria in 2005 and 2008, an albino taxidermy prepared in Victoria in 1882, seeing the last mainland specimen at the Australian Museum and hearing first-hand stories about the last few quolls on Sydney’s foreshores.

    Start exploring this magnificent species further, at http://wherelightmeetsdark.com/index.php?module=wiki&page=MainlandEasternQuollSightings

    Chris.

  2. Matthew Cobb

    Thanks Chris – both for the additional info and for inspiring me to do the obvious and check out YouTube for quoll videos!

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