The Eastern quoll is a small marsupial coming from the dasyurid family which makes them a close relative of the better known, Tasmanian Devil. This species was previously found across much of mainland Australia but the only substantial populations now occur in Tasmania.
They are a small carnivore which will hunt a wide range of small animals. Much of their activity takes place at night with the species being considered nocturnal.
Date Published – March 8, 2021
Date Last Updated – September 6th 2023
Wild – 4-7 years
Captive – 4-7 years
Eastern Quoll Appearance
What does an Eastern Quoll look like?
The eastern quolls are small cat sized animals with a body which is coloured either fawn or black. This is spotted with white across the back. In most individuals the underside is lighter in colour.
Their face is pointed and at the tip is a pink nose while the eyes are black. They have sharp teeth as part of their carnivorous diet. On top of the head are a pair of large, erect ears which are coloured pink.
At the end of the body is a tail of between 21 and 30cm (8.2-11.8in) long. This is coloured the same as the body and in some individuals has a white tip. There are no spots on the tail, a trait which helps to distinguish them from the similar looking spot-tailed or tiger quoll.
The eastern quoll differs from the other quoll species as they lack the big toe on the back foot and have only four toes.
From the head to the base of the tail they will measure between 28 and 45cm (11.8 and 18in) long with an average weight of 0.7 to 2kg (1.5-4.5lbs). Males tend to be significantly larger than females.
Eastern Quoll Adaptations
How does the Eastern Quoll survive in its habitat?
The two colourations of the eastern quoll, black and fawn are believed to have evolved to give them an advantage in their different habitats. These colours help them blend in with the environment that they live in.
Eastern Quoll Diet
What does an Eastern Quoll eat?
The eastern quoll is a carnivore. This species emerges at night to forage for insects, small reptiles and small mammals such as rodents. They may also scavenge from carcasses of animals killed by the Tasmanian devil.
Some reports exist of them eating fruit in small quantities.
Eastern Quoll Range
Where do you the find the Eastern Quoll?
Australia is the native home of the eastern quoll. Currently the only major wild populations are found in Tasmania.
They are considered extinct in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria but reintroduction programs have been ongoing in recent years and small populations with varying levels of success have been established here.
Prior to reintroduction efforts the last mainland sighting dated to 1963 in the New South Wales suburb of Vaucluse.
Eastern Quoll Habitat
Where can an Eastern Quoll survive?
They make their home in rainforest, heathland, alpine areas and scrub showing a preference for dry grassland and forest mosaics. These preferred habitats provided an abundance of pasture grubs, a favoured food.
Within their home range they will form a number of den sites in hollow logs, burrows and crevices.
Eastern Quoll Reproduction
How does a Eastern Quoll produce its young?
Breeding takes place in early winter.
Females have a short 21 day gestation period. Following this up to 24 underdeveloped young are born. They are as small as a grain of rice. These climb up to the pouch where they begin to suckle and develop. There are only six teats in the pouch meaning the first six joeys to arrive will survive.
Both fawn and black coloured young can be produced in the same litter. Fawn is the dominant colouration and more individuals within the population have this colouration.
By 10 weeks old they are old enough to be lest in a burrow while the mother goes to feed. During this time the mother may move them between dens often by piggybacking them.
Around 18 to 20 weeks old they will be weaned and can begin to hunt their own food.
Sexual maturity is reached at one year old and they will breed in the next season.
Eastern Quoll Behaviour
What does an Eastern Quoll do during its day?
Eastern quolls are active by night (nocturnal) when they will emerge to hunt.
Most of their day is spent climbing but they are capable climbers and can be seen in the trees.
Eastern Quoll Predators and Threats
What stops the Eastern Quoll from surviving and thriving?
Humans have impacted the eastern quoll through the introduction of the eastern quoll which is both a predator and competitor. Domestic dogs and the introduced red fox also effect them.
They also suffer from habitat destruction, vehicle strikes, illegal poisoning and trapping. A number of introduced diseases have also affected their population.
Recently the red fox has been introduced to Tasmania and it is unclear if this will effect the population of the eastern quoll in to the future.
This species holds legal protection in Tasmania.
Eastern Quoll Quick facts
The eastern quoll is one of the six quoll species. Four live in Australia while two live in Papua New Guinea.
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Dpipwe.tas.gov.au. 2021. Eastern Quoll | Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, Tasmania. [online] Available at: <https://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/wildlife-management/fauna-of-tasmania/mammals/carnivorous-marsupials-and-bandicoots/eastern-quoll> [Accessed 1 March 2021].
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