Western Quoll - profile

Indicative distribution


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Key:
known
predicted
The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Dasyurus geoffroii
Conservation status in NSW: Presumed Extinct
Commonwealth status: Vulnerable
Profile last updated: 03 Feb 2014

Description

The Western Quoll (Dasyurus geoffroii), is a medium-sized carnivorous marsupial. It has a white-spotted brown coat, creamy white underside, and a long tail with a black bushy end. It has five toes on its hindfoot and granular pads.

The head and body average about 330 mm in length, with the tail averaging another 280mm. An individual can weigh up to 2 kg with males being slightly heavier.

Distribution

The Western Quoll's distribution is now confined to jarrah forests, woodlands and mallee shrublands in the southwest corner of Western Australia. It is classed as a vulnerable species.

The Western Quoll

formerly occupied nearly 70% of the Australian mainland, occurring in every State and Territory. The last specimens were collected in NSW in 1841, Victoria in 1857, Queensland between 1884 and 1907, and in South Australia in 1931. The species disappeared from central Australia around the 1940s–1950s.

Habitat and ecology

  • The Western Quoll previously occupied habitat in a variety of climatic zones across Australia but are now restricted to the south-west of Western Australia.
  • The former range of the Western Quoll suggests that the species utilised a wide variety of habitats including dry schlerophyll forests, beaches and deserts. The Western Quoll currently inhabit most kinds of wooded habitat within its current range including eucalypt forest (especially Jarrah, Eucalyptus marginata), dry woodland and mallee shrublands. In Jarrah forest, populations occur in both moist, densely vegetated, steeply sloping forest and drier, open, gently sloping forest. The densest populations of the western quoll have been found in riparian forest. They have never been recorded in pure Karri (Eucalyptus diversicolor) forest.
  • Prior to the initiation of the European Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) control program, highest densities of the Western Quoll were found in riparian (areas adjacent to lakes, rivers and wetlands) vegetation where food supply is better or more reliable, and the dense undergrowth may provide protection from predators. With the implementation of the European Red Fox control, high densities of the Western Quoll have been observed in upland eucalypt woodland.
  • The Western Quoll primarily forage on the ground at night, however, are also able to climb trees to obtain prey or escape from predators. They can come into conflict with humans from scavenging food around camp sites and raiding chicken coups. The Western Quoll are known to forage along roads and to feed on carrion, making them vulnerable to road traffic.
  • The diet of the Western Quoll is predominantly large invertebrates and is supplemented by small mammals, birds and lizards. Some plant matter has also been recorded in the diet including the red pulp surrounding Zamia (Macrozamia reidlei) seeds. Food is limited during the colder months between June and August.
  • The Western Quoll are seasonal breeders with females entering oestrus in late April. Births occur between May and September and peak between June and July. The western quoll are promiscuous and females may mate with several different males.
  • After two months in the pouch, young are deposited in a den to allow the mother to forage: at this time, the young are particularly vulnerable. They are weaned at five to six months.
  • Both males and females can breed in their first year; however, it is likely that second year males are more successful at mating when they have achieved a larger size than females. Highest fecundity is associated with first year females, which also comprise over half the breeding female population. The average lifespan in the wild is two to three years, and the western quoll usually do not live beyond four years. In captivity, the Western Quoll have been known to live for at least 5.5 years. Sex ratios are close to parity for both pouch young and breeding adults.


Threats

Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

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