Eastern quolls once lived in southeastern Australia, Tasmania, Kangaroo Island, and King Island (Nowak, 1991). They were last seen in the Sydney suburb of Vaucluse in the 1960's and are now extinct from the Australian mainland. Eastern quolls are still common in Tasmania (Parks and Wildlife Service of Tasmania 1997).
Eastern Quolls live in rainforests, woodlands, and closed forests. They are mostly found where rainfall exceeds 600 millimeters per year. Their dens are usually in caves and hollow logs or trees. They were once found in Victoria and the Great Dividing Range from East Queensland to Tasmania, but they are now extinct from all locales except for Tasmania. There are occasional sightings reported in the New England region of New South Wales, suggesting there may be a small residual mainland population (Whitfield 1984).
- Terrestrial Biomes
Eastern quolls are the size of small cats. Generally, females are smaller than males with females ranging from 600 to 1,030 grams and males ranging from 850 to 1,550 grams in weight. Head and body length ranges between 350 and 450 mm and tail length from 210 to 300 mm (Nowak, 1991). Fur colors range from black to brown or tan with white spots on their bodies. The tail may have a white tip. Quolls have a pink nose and ears, a thick snout, a pointed muzzle, and very sharp teeth (Parks and Wildlife Service of Tasmania 1997).
differs from other species in this genus in that it lacks a first toe on the hind foot and the pads of the feet are granulated, rather than striated as in the other species (Nowak, 1991).
- Range mass
- 600 to 1550 g
- 21.15 to 54.63 oz
- Average basal metabolic rate
- 2.26 W
Eastern quolls experience a single breeding season between late fall and early winter. Up to 30 young are born at one time, though females have from 6 to 8 mammae and can only nurture that number of embryos in the pouch (Jagoe 2000, Nowak, 1991). They have a gestation period of 20 to 24 days. The young remain in their mother's pouch for 8 weeks and are weaned at 18 weeks. Maximum longevity recorded in a captive individual was 6 years and 10 months (Nowak, 1991).
- Key Reproductive Features
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
Eastern quolls are primarily solitary animals that hunt at night. They are sometimes observed during the day. Quolls are primarily terrestrial, but are capable of climbing as well. Quolls subdue prey by biting them on the neck.
Their main native competitors are Tasmanian devils, but quolls are also negatively impacted by introduced predators and competitors such as feral cats, dogs, and foxes. The most common causes of death in quolls are dog predation, getting hit by vehicles, illegal poisoning, and trapping by poultry owners. They are under tight legislation in Tasmania as a threatened species (Parks and Wildlife of Tasmania 1997).
- Key Behaviors
Communication and Perception
Eastern quolls are predatory, they are primarily nocturnal and feed mainly on insects, though small vertebrates (small marsupials, rats, rabbits, and mice), carrion, and some vegetable matter may be taken as well. Preferred foods are the cockshafer beetle, corbie shrub, dead animals, and fruit (Parks and Wildlife of Tasmania 1997). They shelter in rock piles and hollow logs during the day (Nowak, 1991).
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Eastern quolls can have positive effects on humans. They remove carrion and eat mice and insect pests on human crops. They are also fascinating animals with some tourism value in Tasmania (Parks And Wildlife Service of Tasmania 1998).
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Some farmers complain that their livestock, especially poultry, are attacked by this mammal. Quolls do sometimes eat sick and weak farm animals but their benefits may outweigh their negative impacts (Parks and Widlife Service of Tasmania 1998).
Eastern quolls are endangered. CITES listsas 'lower risk, near threatened.' Competitors such as feral cats, dogs, and European foxes, along with the destruction of their forest habitat, have led to their decline (Parks and Wildlife Service of Tasmania 1997).
This species is under strict protection in Tasmania (Parks and Wildlife Service of Tasmania 1998).
Tracy Dela Cruz (author), University of California, Irvine, Rudi Berkelhamer (editor), University of California, Irvine.
Living in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and associated islands.
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
The term is used in the 1994 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals to refer collectively to species categorized as Endangered (E), Vulnerable (V), Rare (R), Indeterminate (I), or Insufficiently Known (K) and in the 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals to refer collectively to species categorized as Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN), or Vulnerable (VU).
Earth Sanctuaries Limited, 2000. "Eastern Quoll" (On-line). Accessed 11/25/00 at http://www.esl.com.au/quoll.htm.
Jagoe, M., Talune Wildlife Park, Koala Gardens. July 28, 2000. "Eastern Quoll" (On-line). Accessed November 25, 2000 at http://www.talune.com.au/photos/quoll.html.
Nowak,, R. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Parks and Wildlife Service of Tasmania, October 20, 1997. "Eastern Quoll" (On-line). Accessed November 25, 2000 at http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/wildlife/mammals/equoll.html.
Parks and Wildlife Service of Tasmania, January 22, 1998. "Wildlife of Tasmania" (On-line). Accessed October 7, 2000 at http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/wildlife/mammals/stquoll.html.
Parks and Wildlife of Tasmania, February 2, 1998. "Living with Tasmanian Devils and Quolls" (On-line). Accessed October 7, 2000 at http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/wildlife/lww/devquoll.html.
Whitfield, P. 1984. Macmillan Illustrated Animal Encyclopedia. New York, New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.