Quoll, Spotted Tail

Dasyurus maculatus

Dasyurus maculatus

The Spotted-tail quoll is the largest quoll species with an adult male reaching on average 4kg, and being nearly twice as large as the female.  Quolls have fairly short lives and only reach around 5 years of age in the wild, but may live up to 7 years in captivity.

Breeding

Quolls breed in mid-winter from July through to September.  They reach sexual maturity at 12 months of age.  When females come into heat they attract males using loud clucking noises and will mate with more than one partner.  Gestation is 21 days.  Newborn quolls are hairless and tiny – about the size of a grain of rice.  After birth the tiny young crawl into the mother’s backward facing pouch and attach to one of her 6 teats.  Only the first young to reach the nipples survive because many more babies are born than the number of teats available.  The young are carried in the pouch until they are 7 weeks old and have started growing fur.  Young quolls learn to hunt from their mother and are weaned in summer between December and February.

Behaviour

Spotted-tail quolls occupy a range of forest types from rainforest to dry sclerophyl, heathland and woodland areas, are a solitary species and occupy large home ranges of around 2000 hectares for males and 750 hectares for females.  They are secretive animals that sleep in well-hidden dens in rocky areas and logs during the day, and are most active around dusk and dawn.

Diet

The spotted-tail quoll (or Tiger cat) is a partly arboreal carnivorous marsupial closely related to the Tasmanian devil.  They require complex habitat with good prey densities and hunting cover.  Quolls are efficient hunters that prey on a wide range of mammals, birds and reptiles and sometimes invertebrates.  They will also scavenge and include carrion in their diet.

Status

Fully protected in Tasmania.  Listed as a Near Threatened Species on the IUCN Redlist of Threatened Species.  Population trend: Decreasing.