Endagered Species Classification
The Western Quoll used to be found over approximately 70% of mainland Australia, occurring in every State and Territory of the mainland. It is now only present in south-western Western Australia (WA).
The Western Quoll, roughly the size of a small domestic cat, is WA’s largest native carnivore. As a predator at the top of the food chain, the Western Quoll is dependant on, and a good indicator of, the abundance of its prey and the health of the ecosystem. This is affected by many factors including habitat alteration, bushfires, and disease. For instance, clearing of land or removal of suitable den logs can reduce the area that is suitable for Western Quolls to live in.
Other factors contributing to the decline of the Western Quoll are: predation by, and competition for food with, foxes, feral cats and raptors; being hit by motor vehicles; illegal shooting, poisoning and trapping; accidental drowning in water tanks; and entanglement in barbed wire fencing.
To ensure the future survival of this species, there are plans to establish a breeding program to increase numbers of Western Quolls, and to re-introduce the Western Quoll to areas where they once occurred. FAME is investigating the feasibility of returning the Western Quoll to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia.
Appearance: Reddish-brown to grey with distinctive white spots and a long tail with a black brush on the last half.
Weight: (on average) Females 900 g; Males 1300 g.
Diet: The Western Quoll eats a variety of insects, reptiles, freshwater crustaceans, mammals, birds (up to the size of bandicoots and parrots) and fruits. They kill larger prey by a bite to the back of the head. They mainly hunt for food on the ground but will occasionally climb small trees to catch prey or escape from predators. Interestingly Western Quolls obtain most of their water from their food.
Western Quolls are solitary animals with a large home range of over seven kilometers. The range of a male quoll will often overlap with those of several female quolls. Interestingly they use shared sites in open spaces such as rock ledges, for marking their territory and other social functions.
Western Quolls are typically active at night but can be active during the day, particularly during the breeding season and when cold, wet weather restricts nocturnal foraging. They use hollow logs or earth burrows as dens and refuge.
Did you know?
The Western Quoll can save energy by lowering their body temperature several degrees while sleeping in the daytime.
Last updated May 2015