The tiger quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) is one of the largest carnivorous marsupials—second only to the Tasmanian devil. It lives in the forests of Tasmania and Australia. The tiger quoll is also called tiger cat, spotted quoll, and spotted-tail quoll. There are two subspecies of tiger quoll; one is D. m. gracilis and the other one is D. m. maculatus.
- It is the world’s largest quoll. Males have 39 – 49 cm long tail and the female’s tail measuring at 34 – 44 cm.
- The mean weight of males and females is 3.5 and 1.8 kg in D. m. maculatus. In D. m. gracilis both sexes weigh up to 1.60 and 1.15 kg.
- The tiger quoll has long tail and short legs.
- The quoll is recognized by its reddish brown coat which is covered with white spots.
- Males are 930 mm long in D. m. maculatus while females average 811 mm in length. In D. m. gracilis the average length of male is about 801 mm and that of females is 742 mm.
Range and Habitat
- Tiger quolls are thought to occur in the eastern Australia. They are likely to make homes in wet habitats especially those that receive more than 600 mm of rainfall. Tiger quoll’s habitats include eucalypt forest and rainforests.
- Tiger quolls were once widespread throughout the Australia. Their historical range was much bigger than the current geographic range. There was a time when the tiger quoll lived in southeastern South Australia, southeastern Queensland, Victoria, and eastern New South Wales. Sadly speaking when the Europeans arrived they killed tiger quolls in large numbers. The Victorian population of quolls is decreased by almost 50 percent.
Feeding Ecology and Diet
- Tiger quolls are carnivorous marsupials. They eat a wide variety of animals such as snakes, insects, small wallabies, arboreal possums, birds, crayfish, pademelons, platypus, bandicoots, gliders, rats, and lizards.
- The quoll is also a scavenger. It likes to feed on dead feral pigs, kangaroos, dingos, and cattle.
- The tiger quoll’s diet mostly consists of arboreal animals. During night they prefer to stay in trees searching nocturnal birds and small mammals.
- If the prey is large the tiger quoll strikes on its skull first. In case of small animals, the quoll holds it under the fore paws to bite later.
- Tiger quolls spend most of their time in trees. They are arboreal by nature. However they do come down to the ground but only 10% of their daily time is spent on ground traveling.
- They are nocturnal animals spend the day sleeping in dens. Tiger quolls hide in dens, tree hollows, rock crevices, hollow logs, caves, tree hollows, and burrows.
- The home range is about 580 – 875 ha for males and 90 – 188 ha for females. Sometimes home ranges of males overlap with each other.
- Tiger quolls use olfactory signals to communicate with each other. They do not rely on sight for interaction.
- They are not really vocal but in a group tiger quolls can be little noisy. Their calls are hisses, huffs, piercing screams, and coughs. Female quolls are thought to produce calls like chh-chh and echh-echh.
- The peak mating season of tiger quolls is June to July.
- Young quoll remain blind in the first two months of their birth. They rely on auditory signals to find their parents.
- Each year the female produces 6 – 8 live young after a gestation period of 3 weeks.
- Young quolls become independent in 18 weeks.
- Tiger quolls attain maturity at one year of age.
- The lifespan of tiger quolls is 6 years in the wild.
- Predators of tiger quoll are Tasmanian devil, dingos, masked owl, and dogs.