Scientific Name – Dasyurus maculatus
Conservation Status – Near threatened
Tiger quolls are the largest of the quoll species. They have a light brown coat which is covered in white spots. 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. This tail is 45cm long on average. They are arboreal but the tail is not prehensile. Instead they have ridged foot pads that help them to grip onto trees.
An average male quoll will weigh between 1.6 and 3.5kg with a length of between 801 and 930mm. Females weigh between 1.5 and 1.8kg and measure 742-811mm.
An average lifespan for a tiger quoll would be between 3 and 4 years.
The tiger quoll is a carnivore. Small prey items such as insects, crayfish, lizards, snakes, birds, domestic poultry, small mammals, platypus, wallabies, pademelons, 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.
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 some offshore islands.
They live in areas with rainfall above 600mm in wet forests and closed eucalypt forest. They make a den in an underground burrow, cave, tree hollow, hollow log, rock crevices and even under people’s houses. 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.
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 size 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 pouch. On average they have a litter of five. This litter will be made of quolls from a number of different dads. 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.
Quolls are nocturnal. During the day they will retire to their den.
Some populations of quolls will have communal latrines in an area such as a rocky creek bed, cliff base or road.
They make noises such as huffs, coughs, hisses and piercing screams are made by the quoll during their social interactions. Outside of these times they are mostly silent.
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.
When quolls were more numerous they would prey on backyard chickens regularly. In these attacks they would kill all the chickens but only eat one as they are opportunistic carnivores and eat anything they can find.
Quolls were collected by captain cook when he came to Australian in 1770.
Top – By arndbergmann (originally posted to Flickr as imgp3422.jpg) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Bottom – By Joshua Cunningham [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons