by Matthew Cobb
As a special 5000th-post-day present to you all, here are some True Facts About the Quoll. How can you resist an animal called a quoll? The quoll – a carnivorous marsupial – is about the size of a cat, and apparently occupying a similar niche in Australia. Here’s one:
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. Conservationists are trying to condition the quolls not to eat cane toads.
Quolls 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):
They have two colour phases – ginger/brown (above) and black:
Here’s a video of someone bottle feeding a baby spotted tail quoll:
There is another quoll, the Eastern Quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus), which now appears to be limited to Tasmania. You can find more about the last mainland Australian sightings of the Eastern Quoll here. Here’s a video of an Eastern Quoll, complete with inappropriate music:
There is also a Northern Quoll, Dasyurus hallucatus. And the compass being what it is, there is also a Western Quoll called a Chudditch. Here’s a baby Chudditch:
There are also two species of quoll found in New Guinea – the New Guinea Quoll and the Bronze Quoll.
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.
[Based on a post at Z-letter.com from 2009]