Have you spotted a Spot-tailed quoll?

Spot-tailed Quoll, Dasyurus maculatus, are our native largest carnivorous marsupial left on mainland, Australia. The male may weigh up to 7 kg and the female up to 4 kg. They have a long tail and brown to black fur with distinctive white spots, a pointed snout with a moist pink nose and let’s not forget their many sharp teeth. They live in forest, woodland and dense coastal heathland and as they are becoming harder to find you may never be lucky enough to see one in the wild.

Spot-tailed Quoll

Several years ago a dead one was found west of Ballarat beside the Sunraysia Highway and this was an important find as it was thought they had disappeared from the area. In recent months there have been a few sightings of live ones mainly near the coast and this is exciting news see http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/a-sniff-of-hope-to-save-the-otways-lost-quolls-20111021-1mcil.html  or http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2012/s3496934.htm

The Otway Ranges in south west Victoria were once considered to be the stronghold of this species in the state. However, over the past decade, there have been very few records in the area indicating that numbers have declined.

Remote camera surveys are being conducted to try and locate Spot-tailed Quolls in the Great Otway National Park and Otway Forest Park. Infra-red cameras which detect the nocturnal movement of wildlife as well as  recording predator species are being used.  While the cameras are yet to record quolls they have shown feral cats and foxes are present even in the remotest locations in the Otways. See http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/arthur-rylah-institute/threatened-species-and-communities-past-projects

Quolls are mainly active at night but sometimes they may be seen in daylight hours. Their large home ranges can extend for several kilometres in each direction from a smaller core range, and the range of a male quoll often overlaps those of several females. The spotted-tailed quoll are very good climbers feeding prey such as small mammals like antechinus and bush rats  and medium sized mammals possums, gliders, and rabbits, birds and insects. Quolls are good scavengers and also eat dead animals. http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/322204/spot-tailed-quoll4.pdf

In Australia they are listed as vulnerable but in Victoria they are listed as endangered. The Department of Sustainability and Environment is very interested in hearing about new sightings so if you see one and even better take a photo as well. please let them know. Your initial contact should be through the Customer Service Centre 136186 and ask to speak to your local biodiversity officer.

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