Australia’s marsupial “cat”
Spot-tailed quolls are opportunistic carnivores and scavengers. They eat small to medium sized mammals, birds and reptiles as well as insects and carrion.
Spot-tailed quolls are the second largest living carnivorous marsupial after the Tasmanian Devil. They are mainly solitary and nocturnal, resting in dens during the day and hunting by night. These quolls are terrestrial (ground-dwelling) but spend about 10% of their time above the forest floor, moving with agility either on logs or in trees. They are highly mobile and can roam several kilometres in one night.
The spot-tailed quoll is mostly found down the eastern coastal fringe of Australia. Populations range from south east Queensland, to New South Wales and Victoria, and are found throughout Tasmania with a small range in far-north Queensland.
Quolls are found in a variety of habitats including eucalypt forest and woodlands, coastal heathland, rainforests and rocky headlands. They prefer undisturbed, diverse habitats, as they contain hollow trees and logs, rock crevices and caves which the quolls can use as dens and breeding sites.
Quoll numbers are declining. The major cause is land clearing, with subsequent loss and fragmentation of habitat. Other factors are competition for prey from cats and foxes, and poisoning by 1080 (fox) baits.
What we are doing
Moonlit Sanctuary is developing and managing a national breeding program in zoos and wildlife parks across Australia through the Zoo and Aquarium Association.
Spot-tailed quolls breed during the winter months, May-July. The female vocalises when she is in oestrus (season) and her neck swells. She may have a litter of up to six young after a gestation period of 21 days. The mother carries her joeys in her pouch until about 10 weeks of age at which point they are left in the den. The young are then weaned and independent at 18-20 weeks and become sexually mature by one year of age with a life expectancy of up to five years.