Rare quoll spotted in North East
A RARE Spot-tailed quoll has been seen at a Staghorn Flat property, a few kilometres from Baranduda (south east of Wodonga) last week.
The property owners, Russell and Kathy Cohalan, first thought their dogs were barking at a possum until they took a closer look at the animal perched up a tree.
The Cohalans contacted the Staghorn Wildlife Shelter where the likelihood of the spotted animal being the rare quoll was recognised and it was reported to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).
Senior DELWP biodiversity officer, Glen Johnson, attended the property on the night of March 3 to confirm the species.
“This is a hugely significant record as there have been very few recent sightings in the North East,” Mr Johnson said.
“Most sightings reported to the department are unfortunately from road kill incidents as the quoll is known to scavenge for dead animals, putting itself at risk.”
The Spot-tailed quoll is a similar size to a domestic cat, and is easily recognisable by the distinctive white spots on the tail and body.
It is the largest of the four quoll species, and also the largest remaining marsupial carnivore on mainland Australia.
These quolls hunt mostly at night as they are largely nocturnal and solitary, and will feed on medium-sized mammals including gliders, possum and rabbits as well as birds and eggs.
“This quoll was probably scouting around for rabbits or possibly even chooks in the estate,” Mr Johnson said.
“We know there are populations in larger forested country in the mountains, but this sighting demonstrates that there is still a small population around the Baranduda Range, Mt Stanley and Mt Pilot area.”
Spot-tailed quolls are found in a range of forest environments, from rainforest to open woodland; they have a large home range and can cover more than six kilometres overnight.
They require forest with suitable den sites such as rock crevices, caves, hollow logs, burrows and tree hollows.
The spot-tailed quoll was once common t hroughout south-eastern Australia, including Tasmania, however, since European settlement it has become rare across most of its range.