THE QUOLL OF OZ
This week, let’s take a trip down under and visit the Quoll.
There are four species of Quoll in Australia, and according to the IUCN*, all of them are threatened. The Northern Quoll, pictured above, is the smallest of all the Quolls. It is ‘endangered.’ The Eastern Quoll, the Western Quoll, and the Spotted-Tailed Quoll, also known as the Tiger Quoll, are all ‘near threatened.’
They are very interesting looking creatures. You might say they are a cross between a rat and a cat.
NOT SO CUTE…
The Quoll is actually considered one of the most ferocious critters in Australia and the largest carnivorous marsupial. These small mammals are capable of tearing flesh from its prey and crushing invertebrates.
Although quolls can climb trees, they prefer to stay on the ground.
Light brown with white spots that travel down their backs and tails, the quoll can occasionally be found basking in the sun after a cold spell. Although this solitary animal is considered a carnivore, it will eat fruit and grass. They hunt at night for small mammals and reptiles, as well as tasty insects. Their pink nose and rounded ears soften their appearance, but don’t be fooled—it's a top predator.
Tiger Quoll (Spotted quoll) photographed in Caversham Wildlife Park, north of Perth, WA
As we’ve said, the Northern Quoll is the smallest of all the quoll species and it is also the most aggressive. It is endangered and the Australians have initiated a program which they feel will help to insure the survival of this species, and save it from local extinction. Threatened by the Cane Toad, which is an introduced species, the Northern Quoll is now being removed from its range. Australian researchers are moving the Northern Quoll from its current environment and placing the species on an island. There it will live without the threat of the poisonous toad. (Next week we’ll discuss introduced species, in particular, the Cane Toad, and its effect on the Australian environment.)
This video will give you more information on those researchers who are working to save the Northern Quoll.
This video discusses the tiger quoll.
Habitat loss and predation by introduced species are major threats to quolls. Hopefully, the programs that have been put in place by the Australians will ensure the survival of this unusual marsupial.
The Quoll happens to be one of my favorite Australian animals. They feature prominently in my books, not just because of their unusual appearance, but it gives me the ability to introduce this unusual mammal to my readers. We can do something to save many endangered animals, but we must have the information and education in order to do so. Reading a great story can be educational as well as entertaining.
*IUCN: International Union for Conservation of Nature
For more information about quolls, visit the following sites:
Thank you for stopping by. I do hope you have learned something new and that you will be inspired to learn more.
Jeanne E. Rogers, Award Winning Author
The Sword of Demelza and The Gift of Sunderland
Middle-Grade Fantasy Where Endangered Animal Heroes Roam the Pages!