Quoll Fact Sheet

Quoll Fact Sheet

Eastern Quoll

Dasyurus viverrinus

There are 4 species of quoll found in Australia and 2 in Papua New Guinea. The Eastern Quoll is a small carnivorous marsupial closely related to the Tasmanian devil.

Unlike other quoll species, the Eastern quoll comes in 2 “morphs”: fawn and black, both with white spots. They are a solitary and elusive marsupial with flexible feeding habits. Quolls eat berries and invertebrates, and they also hunt and scavenge small birds, reptiles and mammals. During the day they sleep in nests made in underground burrows under rocks or in fallen logs.

Quoll breeding season takes place between late autumn and early winter. The young are carried in the pouch for 6 to 8 weeks, after which their mother leaves them in the den while she goes out to hunt and forage. If she needs to move to a different den, she carries the young on her back.

The Eastern Quoll became extinct on mainland Australia in the 1960s. They are now only found wild in Tasmania and are listed as an endangered species.

In 2016, 16 individuals were reintroduced into Mulligans Flat. Half came from Mt Rothwell’s captive breeding program in Victoria. The other half came from the wild in Tasmania.

Unfortunately, as quolls are very skilled climbers, some made it over the fence and into the waiting jaws of foxes. However the rest settled in, and all 5 females had litters of 6 babies each. By the beginning of spring 2016 there were between 25-30 baby quolls running around Mulligans Flat for the first time in 50 years.

In 2017 (after upgrading the fence) we had our second translocation of 13 animals, this time 6 from Mt Rothwell and 7 from Tasmania. These quolls were introduced after breeding season, which meant the females were ready to den down the moment they arrived. This release had a survival rate of 92%.

Quolls are cryptic animals, meaning they have evolved highly effective habits and physical attributes to help them hide, and are therefore difficult to monitor. Nonetheless the population estimate for that year’s count came to over 40 individuals. A further 8 quolls, all wild, were released into the sanctuary in 2018 using lessons learned from the first two rounds. These also thrived and we are eager to learn even more from February 2020’s quoll count.

The reintroduction biology of the Eastern Quolls at Mulligans Flat is being studied by PhD student Belinda Wilson.