©Getty Images

©Getty Images

On his voyage of discovery to Australia, Captain Cook recorded 'quoll' as their Aboriginal name.

When settlers came to Australia, they gave them names similar to European animals, such as  'native cat' or 'native marten'.

What is a quoll?

The quoll is a small marsupial. There are four different species, or kinds, of quoll.

Habitat and Distribution (where they are found)

Eastern quoll. ©Getty Images

Eastern quoll. ©Getty Images

Quolls live in isolated forest areas in Australia.

Quolls were once found throughout the continent, but now the different species are each found in different parts of Australia:

  • The spotted-tailed quoll, the largest, is found along the east coast of Australia. Also called tiger quoll.
  • The western quoll is found only in a small area in the southwest of Western Australia.
  • The eastern quoll is found only in Tasmania.
  • The northern quoll, the smallest, is found in the tropical north.

Appearance and Behaviours

Spotted tail quoll. ©Getty Images

Spotted tail quoll. ©Getty Images

They are between 35-75 cm long, with long tails about 40 cm long. Their bodies are reddish to dark brown with white spots. The spotted-tailed quoll is the only one with spots, which appear on the tail as well as the body.

They are lively animals, with pointed snout and sharp teeth. Quolls bound along on the ground and climb trees. They hunt mainly at night, but sometimes in the day as well. 

Diet

Quolls are carnivores, meaning they eat meat. They hunt birds, small mammals, lizards and insects and any animals they find dead. They also eat fruit. Quolls also eat carrion, which means dead animals they find. This cleans up the forest.

Spotted tail quoll. ©Getty Images

Spotted tail quoll. ©Getty Images

Life Cycle

After mating with a male, folds of skin on the female's belly develop into a pouch that opens towards her back legs. After 21 days, she gives birth to as many as 30 tiny, undeveloped young, but has only 6 teats so the ones that cannot attach themselves to a teat will die. The surviving young remain attached to a teat for about 8 weeks, then are carried on their mother's back and fed in a nest for 6 weeks.

Conservation Status and Threats

Quolls are endangered.The number of quolls is decreasing through habitat loss and predation by foxes and feral cats.

Watch videos of the spotted tail quoll, including some filmed  inside the nest:

http://www.arkive.org/spotted-tailed-quoll/dasyurus-maculatus/

Read about the northern quoll:

http://perthzoo.wa.gov.au/animals-plants/australia/nocturnal-house/northern-quoll/

Read about the eastern quoll:

http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/?base=4774

Read about the western quoll:

http://fame.org.au/news_resources/endangered_species/western-quoll