Eastern Quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus) - Wiki
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[Photo] Eastern Quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus). Date 12-01-2007. Author Michael Barritt & Karen May
The Eastern Quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus), also known as the Eastern Native Cat, is a medium-sized carnivorous dasyurid marsupial native to Australia. They are now considered extinct on the mainland, but remain widespread and even locally common in Tasmania. It is one of six extant species of quoll.
The Eastern Quoll is generally about the size of a small domestic cat, with an adult male averaging 60cm and weighing approximately 1.3kg. Their thick coat is covered by white spots, and ranges in colour from a light fawn to a near black, with an off-white belly. They can be distinguished from the Tiger Quoll by their slender build, pointed snout and lack of spots on the tail.
The Eastern Quoll is a solitary predator, hunting at night for its prey of insects and small mammals. They have also been known to scavenge food from the much larger Tasmanian Devil.
The breeding season begins in early winter, and the female gives birth to up to 30 young. Of these, the first to attach themselves to the six teats will be the only survivors. Weaning takes place at about 10 weeks of age, with the young staying in the den whilst the mother forages.
The main threats to the Eastern Quoll are competition and predation from feral cats and illegal poisoning and trapping. The lack of foxes and dingoes in Tasmania is believed to have contributed to the survival of the species.
The last mainland Eastern Quoll specimen was collected as roadkill in Sydney's Nielsen Park, Vaucluse on 31 January 1963. The National Parks and Wildlife service reports numerous unconfirmed sightings up until 1999 (the year of the report), and the species was reported sighted as recently as 2006.
The Eastern Quoll is a member of the family Dasyuridae, which includes most carnivorous marsupials. Its species name, viverrinus, indicatest that it is "ferret-like". The species was first described in 1800 by George Shaw, who placed it in the opossum genus Didelphis, along with the only other then-known quoll, the Tiger Quoll.
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