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Nature Notes - Western Quoll

Image of a Western QuollThe Western Quoll used to occur over most of Australia. Now they are only found in the south west of Western Australia. Arrerne Aboriginal people of central Australia call them tyelpe (Chilpa) and despite being locally extinct they are still associated with many important ceremonies.

What does it look like?

The Western Quoll (Dasyurus geoffroyi) is a rufous grey carnivorous marsupial with white spots on their body and legs but not tail. They are inquisitive and hyperactive especially at dusk and before dawn.

How does it survive in the desert?

When there is not much water about, Western Quolls are able to obtain most of the water they need from their food.

They can save energy by lowering their body temperature several degrees during the daytime when they’re asleep.

Like all carnivorous marsupials, Western Quolls are seasonal breeders. Mating occurs Late April - Early July.

Where does it live?

When Western Quolls lived in central Australia they lived in the desert woodlands and the sand countrywhere they would shelter by day in hollow logs, rock crevices or burrows in the sand.

Western Quolls are solitary animals, except when breeding, and individuals require quite large areas of habitat. Their home range must contain suitable den sites and sufficient prey. In Western Australia, for example, each female’s home range is 55-120 ha and is vigorously defended.

What does it eat?

Quolls are carnivores and will eat almost any small animal they can like insects, spiders, mammals, lizards, and frogs. They mainly hunt on the ground but may climb trees to rob bird’s nests.

Who eats it?

Predators of quolls include dingoes, Wedge-tailed Eagles, feral cats and red foxes.

How big are they and how long do they live?

Males grow to 2kg and females up to 1kg and can live up to 7 years

Wild Status

Vulnerable. Formely present across semi-arid Australia from south western Western Australia to Western Queensland & New South Wales. Western Quolls disappeared from Central Australia between the mid 1930s and early 1950s and are now restricted to the southwest corner of the continent. Many factors have contributed to their decline including competition from feral cats and foxes, land clearing and the reduction of Aboriginal burning practices.

Extra Facts

Quolls occupy a special place in the ecosystem: at the top of the food chain. Their presence in an area could be regarded as an indicator of environmental quality because their survival relies on the rest of the food chain being intact.

Compare with the Coati of the Sonoran Desert.