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Congratulations to Working on Country graduates

22/04/2016

A partnership program between the Tasmanian Government and the Australian Government has seen four Working on Country Aboriginal rangers gain professional qualifications in land management.More

Mount Field centenary celebrations

14/04/2016

Two of Tasmania's most loved parks, Freycinet and Mount Field, were first reserved on 29 August 1916 and this milestone is being celebrated during the year with a variety of events.
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Big Green Island rat eradication under way

24/03/2016

The first stage of a project to eradicate rats from Big Green Island and provide increased protection for its biodiversity values, is under way, following the installation of more than 2,100 bait stations using the latest digital technology.More

Spotted-tail Quoll, Dasyurus maculatus

Description

Spotted-tail quoll

The spotted-tailed quoll (or tiger cat as it was once innapropriately known) is the second largest of the world's surviving carnivorous marsupials. Spotted-tailed quolls vary from reddish brown to dark chocolate brown with white spots on the body and tail (unlike eastern quolls which do not have spots on the tail). The species is considerably larger than the eastern quoll, with males measuring up to 130 cm long and 4 kg in weight. Females are significantly smaller than males.

The eyes and ears of the spotted-tailed quoll are comparatively smaller than those of the eastern quoll. Also the spotted-tailed quoll is physically strong in appearance, with a thick snout and wide gape.

Distribution and habitat

The spotted-tailed quoll is also found on the east coast of mainland Australia, but is rare. Two subspecies have been descibed -- a smaller one (D. m. gracilis) is found in northern Queensland. D. m. maculatus occurs from southern Queensland to Tasmania. The spotted-tailed quoll is now threatened throughout its mainland range.

Spotted-tailed quolls are most common in cool temperate rainforest, wet sclerophyll forest and coastal scrub along the north and west coasts of the state.

Behaviour and diet

Spotted-tail quolls are largely solitary and nocturnal, although the species does sometimes forage and bask during daylight hours. Spotted-tailed quolls spend a tenth of their time moving with agility above the forest floor on logs or in trees.

Spotted-tail quoll footprint

The spotted-tailed quoll is a capable hunter that, like the eastern quoll, kills its prey by biting on or behind the head. Prey taken by the spotted-tailed quoll include rats, gliding possums, small or injured wallabies, reptiles and insects. Birds and eggs are also taken from time to time. Carrion is frequently eaten by spotted-tailed quolls and even tip scavenging and beachcombing occur. Large spotted-tailed quolls compete directly with Tasmanian devils for food - one female has even been seen to chase a Tasmanian devil away from a carcase!

Breeding

Breeding is similar to the eastern quoll. Females breed only once a year unless they fail to find a mate or lose their litter early, at which time they will try to breed again. Breeding occurs in early winter with females giving birth to up to 6 young after a gestation period of 21 days. After about 10 weeks the young are left in grass-lined dens located in burrows or hollow logs leaving the female free to hunt and forage. If the female needs to move to a different den she carries the young along on her back. Towards the end of November, when the young are 18 to 20 weeks old, they are weaned (stop suckling) and become independent of the female. Sexual maturity is reached at one year.

Status

The species is fully protected in Tasmania.