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Two eastern quoll joeys at the Devils@Cradle conservation facility, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania © WWF-Aus / Madeleine Smitham

Two eastern quoll joeys at Trowunna Wildlife Park, Tasmania © WWF-Aus / Madeleine Smitham

Eastern Quoll

The size of a small domestic cat, it’s no wonder the eastern quoll is a favourite marsupial of those lucky enough to see one. Nocturnal by nature, this solitary but bold carnivore usually hunts in open country or woodland. It can occasionally be spotted foraging by day but prefers to spend daylight hours in nests made under rocks in underground burrows or fallen logs.

The eastern quoll has a pointed nose, a bushy tail, is covered in white spots. Eastern quolls have two colour morphs of either a soft fawn or dark colour, so while they may look slightly different, they are exactly the same species. It’s thought that these colour variations are an evolutionary adaptation to increase their chances of survival in the wild.

A female can give birth to a litter of up to six quoll pups a year, and each litter will have a random variation of the dark and light colours.

The eastern quoll was once found across much of the southeast mainland of Australia, from the eastern coasts of South Australia, through most of Victoria, to the north coast of New South Wales. They became extinct on the mainland around 50 years ago but remain relatively widespread in Tasmania.


What we're doing

 

 Juvenile eastern quolls (Dasyurus viverrinus) at Devils @ Cradle, Tasmania © Devils @ Cradle / WWF-Aus

© Devils @ Cradle / WWF-Aus


Why it matters 

Eastern quolls were once part of the Australian landscape for millions of years.

 

Their mainland extinction is a sad and serious issue because, as a predator, they perform a valuable role. While the main component of their diet is invertebrates such as spiders, cockroaches and grasshoppers, these small mammals are also impressive hunters. Their appetite for rabbits, mice and rats helps keep the populations of these pests under control and maintains a natural balance in the ecosystem.

Two eastern quoll joeys at the Devils@Cradle conservation facility, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania © WWF-Aus / Madeleine Smitham

 

 

Dasyurus viverrinus

Species Bio

Common Name

Eastern quoll

Scientific Name

Dasyurus viverrinus

Stats

Male eastern quolls are about the size of a small domestic cat, averaging 60 cm in length and 1.3 kg in weight; females are slightly smaller.

Status

Endangered - IUCN Red List.

Eastern quolls once occurred on mainland Australia, with the last sighting occurring in the Sydney suburb of Vaucluse in the early 1960s. The eastern quoll is still relatively widespread in Tasmania but spotlighting data demonstrates that its population size has declined by an estimated >50% over the past 10 years.

Did you know?

An eastern quoll is capable of taking prey nearly as large as itself.


Threats

  • Introduced Predators
  • The exact reason for their mainland extinction is still unclear, however it’s thought that a combination of feral cats, red foxes, dogs, roadkill, poisoning, trapping plus a widespread epidemic all contributed to the localised extinction of these marsupials.

    While the eastern quoll is still reasonably widespread in Tasmania its current main threat remains the cat, and fox on mainland Australia.


    What you can do to help

    Sign up to our newsletter and stay up-to-date on the latest quoll news from our teams in-the-field.

     You can donate to WWF to help us protect endangered species like eastern quolls.



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    Two eastern quoll joeys at Trowunna Wildlife Park, Tasmania © WWF-Aus / Madeleine Smitham

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