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Spotted-tailed quoll

The spotted-tailed quoll is the largest remaining carnivorous marsupial on the Australian mainland. It’s protected as a vulnerable species in NSW.

Also known as tiger quolls, spotted-tailed quolls are the largest of the 4 species of quoll in Australia. The size of a domestic cat, with shorter legs and a pointed face, they have rusty-brown fur with white spots that continue down the tail.

A fierce hypercarnivore

Spotted-tailed quolls are hypercarnivores - animals whose diet is over 70% meat. They eat more than 22 species of mammals, from rats and rabbits, to possums, birds, bandicoots and gliders.

This threatened species has the most powerful bite for their body size of any predatory mammal in the world, after their close relative the Tasmanian devil.

Quolls adapt to take advantage of whatever prey is most abundant. Observations of radio-tracked animals and analysis of quoll scats show their fondness for dining on brushtail possums and greater gliders. A hunting quoll will systematically sniff the base of hollow-bearing trees, only climbing those where an unsuspecting sleeping possum or glider is likely to be resting in its daytime den.

Room to roam

These mostly nocturnal animals live in a variety of environments including rainforests, woodlands, forests, heathlands and sometimes open country. They’re found on both sides of the Great Dividing Range, in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, as well as in Tasmania.

Large, connected forest landscapes are key to quoll survival. Individual males roam vast areas often more than 1,000 hectares, which overlaps with the range of other males and females. Females have smaller, non-overlapping ranges around 200 hectares, where they establish maternity dens in late-winter and early spring. Female territories occur in areas with abundant prey and suitable denning resources, like hollow logs, rock outcrops, small caves, and tree hollows.

Animal facts

Common name
Spotted-tailed quoll
Scientific name
Dasyurus maculatus
Conservation status in NSW

Threats and conservation

Studies indicate that populations are likely stable across south-eastern Australia’s remaining areas of large, connected forest landscapes. Outside these large reserves, quoll numbers are more vulnerable to threats including habitat loss and fragmentation, changes in climate, increasing wildfire, competition with foxes and feral cats, roadkill and persecution by people, who often blame quolls for harming poultry.

The NSW Government’s Saving our Species conservation program is working to reduce threats and safeguard a future for these native animals. Learn more about the Quollidor Project, which is contributing to improved management and monitoring of quolls in Barren Grounds Nature Reserve and Budderoo National Park, south of Sydney.

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Parks in which this animal is found