An Australian Tiger!
The tiger quoll is a carnivore which is closely related to the better known Tasmanian devil and the now extinct Tasmanian tiger. Like these species they are a large carnivore which feeds on a wide variety of small animals.
As marsupials the young of this species are initially raised in a pouch located on the mothers underside.
What does a Tiger Quoll look like?
Tiger quolls are the largest of the quoll species. They have a light or rusty brown coat which is covered in white spots. These spots tend to be less defined in adult individuals. Only this variety of quoll has a spotted tail along with the spotted body. Their underside is a grey or creamy white.
Their legs are relatively short while the tail is the length of the head and body combined. They are arboreal but the tail is not prehensile. Instead they have ridged foot pads that help them to grip onto trees.
This tail is 45cm (17.7in) long on average. This is the only quoll species in which the spots extend on to the tail.
An average male quoll will weigh between 1.6 and 3.5kg (3.5-7.7lbs) with a length of between 80 and 93cm (31.5-36.6in). Females weigh between 1.5 and 1.8kg (3.3-4lbs) and measure 74-81cm (29-31.9in). They are the largest of the four living quoll species.
How does the Tiger Quoll survive in its habitat?
The feet pads of the tiger quoll are ridged which provides extra grip when trying to climb trees.
What does a Tiger Quoll eat?
The tiger quoll is a carnivore. Small prey items such as insects, crayfish, lizards, snakes, birds, domestic poultry, small mammals, platypus, wallabies, padaemelons, wombats and possums are hunted. They also scavenge prey which may include kangaroos, dingoes, cattle and feral pigs.
As roads make a good place to scavenge for road kill quolls are regularly implicated in motor collisions.
Quolls hunt mostly arboreal animals including going out to find possums and birds at night. To catch the prey they pin the animal and bite the skull or neck.
On the basis of weight the tiger quoll has the world’s second strongest bite force.
Where do you the find the Tiger Quoll?
Tiger quolls hail from Australia, specifically Eastern Australia, in the states of Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania. Previously they could also be found in South Australia and on some offshore islands.
Where can a Tiger Quoll survive?
They live in areas with rainfall above 600mm in wet forests and closed eucalypt forest.
They make a den in a cave, hollow log or tree, rock crevices and even under people’s houses. This species has also been seen to make use of abandoned rabbit or wombat burrows. Each individual animal may have a number of dens within their range which they move between.
Quolls maintain a home range with males having a larger one than females. Some will live as transients who move throughout an area instead of maintaining a permanent range.
How does a Tiger Quoll produce its young?
The tiger quoll is a solitary animal. During autumn and winter (April – July) males and females come together to mate. The female will vocalise when in estrus to attract a male who she will allow to mount her. He grips her side and bites her neck which swells up. Some quolls have been observed mating for up to 80 hours (3 ½ days). They will then go on to mate with a number of other partners.
After 21 days the young quolls are deposited into the rudimentary pouch. On average they have a litter of five. This litter will be made of quolls which each have a different father from several matings of the female. The female will rest on her side for the first few days the young are in the pouch. After they become too big they will be left in a den made in a hollow log or rock crevice.
Young are blind for 50-60 days after birth. They use vocalisations and touch to find their way around. After 100 days the mother begins to get aggressive to the young showing them that they should move on.
Tiger quolls are sexually mature at two years of age.
What does the Tiger Quoll do during its day?
Tiger quolls are nocturnal. During the day they will retire to their den. On occasion they are observed coming out of their den during the day to bask in the sun.
This species is considered solitary. They will only come together when they are looking to mate. Females maintain a territory which they will defend against entry by other quolls. These are rather large and each individual may travel for several kilometres each night. Males will overlap their range with several females or males.
Some populations of quolls will have communal latrines in an area such as a rocky creek bed, cliff base or road. These serve as a means of communication. They help one another to keep track of who is in their habitat. This also allows them to communicate when they are open to mating.
These animals are agile climbers and are often seen in the trees where they will look out for prey.
They make noises such as huffs, coughs, hisses and piercing screams during their social interactions. Outside of these times they are mostly silent.
Predators and Threats
What stops the Tiger Quoll from surviving and thriving?
Predators of the quoll include Tasmanian devils, dingoes and masked owls. Some evidence suggests that large pythons and wedge tailed eagles are able to prey on quolls as well.
They are also threatened due to competition with foxes, cats and wild dogs taking their food.
Due to habitat destruction a number of populations of the tiger quoll have become isolated. These may be so small that genetic viability will be impacted in the future. Humans are further impacting them through land clearing and increasing in fire activity. They also suffer through indirect poisoning when they consume baits left out for foxes or dingoes.
Quolls were collected by captain cook when he came to Australian in 1770.
The closest living relative of the tiger quoll is the Tasmanian devil. They were also related to the now extinct, Tasmanian tiger.
The genus name of the tiger quoll, Dasyurus roughly translates as ‘hairy tail.’
This species is also known as the spotted marten, native polecat, tiger cat or native cat.
Spotted-tail Quoll Den & Latrine Sites, “PDF” (2007). Sydney: Department of Environment and Climate Change NSW.
“Hidden Vale Files” (2019). Hidden Vale Wildlife Centre.
Marten, J. (2020) “Husbandry Guidelines for the SPOTTED-TAILED QUOLL (Tiger Quoll) .” Richmond: Western Sydney Institute of TAFE, Richmond.
Burnett, S. & Dickman, C. 2018. Dasyurus maculatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T6300A21946847. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T6300A21946847.en. Downloaded on 24 May 2020.
Tiger quoll (2017) Conservation Ecology Centre – Cape Otway. Available at: https://www.conservationecologycentre.org/discover/conservation-science/otsrn/tiger-quoll/ (Accessed: January 29, 2023).
Author (2023) Spotted tail quoll, NSW Environment and Heritage. Available at: https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/animals-and-plants/native-animals/native-animal-facts/spotted-tail-quoll (Accessed: January 30, 2023).
(2023) Spotted tail quoll, NSW Environment and Heritage. Available at: https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/animals-and-plants/native-animals/native-animal-facts/spotted-tail-quoll (Accessed: January 30, 2023).
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