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The Eastern Quoll

The Eastern Quoll, Dasyurus viverrinus, is sometimes described as being about the size of a small domestic Cat, Felis catus, but since even the male Eastern Quolls only grow to about 1.3 Kilograms (3 pounds), I would make that a very small domestic Cat.

This animal is one of the four Australian species in the so called Native Cat group.  They were recorded and collected by Captain James Cook in 1770.  He was able to find out the name, Quoll, from the native people of the area.

Native Cats

The early European settlers gave them several different and misleading names based on animals they were more familiar with.  Some of these names were Native Cat, Spotted Marten and Native Polecat.

The Spotted-tailed Quoll is the largest of the group while the Northern Quoll is the smallest.  The Eastern Quoll is between these two extremes.

Range

The Eastern Quoll used to range over much of the Eastern coastal region of Australia, but is now believed to be extinct on the mainland.  The population in Tasmania is still thriving.

Diet and Niche

The Eastern Quoll has similar dietary preferences to the Spotted-tailed Quoll, but its smaller size means it effectively occupies a different ecological niche.  These two species live in the same areas.

The Eastern Quoll is a powerful hunter for its size, eating not only Mice, but also hunting and killing Rats.  However, its main food is insects.

Farmer’s Friend

Most of the creatures this animal eats are agricultural pests like pasture cockchafers and many other types of insects.  They also eat carrion and help to clean up any dead animals which would be breeding grounds for the dreaded Blowfly which attacks sheep.

Predators

The Eastern Quoll was probably wiped out on the mainland.  Its small size makes it vulnerable to Foxes and Cats. Dogs, including Dingos will also eat this animal, but since they were still thriving thousands of years after the Dingo was introduced, it is clear that the Quolls can cope with dogs.

Cane Toad

Another animal that is a threat to Quolls is the Cane Toad.  This poisonous animal was introduced to control a pest of sugar cane.  It failed to control the pest and has seriously damaged the wildlife of the areas it is in.  It is steadily spreading further.

Some of the Quolls appear to have found a way to cope with this problem.  The University of Sydney is attempting to teach the wild Quolls to avoid the Cane Toad.

Eastern Quolls as Pets

Although the most obvious Quoll to be kept as a pet is the Spotted-tailed Quoll, the Eastern Quoll is also a possible pet in the Future.

The Law

At present, Australian Mammals are not normally allowed to be kept as pets.  These laws were intended to protect the animals, and in many circumstances can be considered to be good laws.  However, laws can be changed.

We should remember that Australia is a democracy.  The government is our servant, not our master.  Sometimes our governments may be slow in recognising the will of the people.  Both the major political parties are sometimes completely behind in their thinking.  Their policies may be out of date, and we the people do not have a viable political party representing our wishes.

If enough people want a course of action, eventually it will be taken up.  The Power of the People is Paramount.

Problems

Apart from being illegal, there are other problems with keeping Eastern Quolls as pets.  They are compatible with Humans, but not with some of our other pets.  Cats and Dogs can kill them, but both these animals are highly intelligent and can learn not to kill our other pets.  I know of plenty of cases of Cats living in total harmony with Guinea Pigs.

I have also known cases of Dogs and Cats being kept with Rabbits.

In fact the biggest problem is not likely to be the owner’s own pets, but other pets in the area.

Toilet Training

Quolls will naturally use a common toilet area.  These highly intelligent animals can be trained to use a litter tray in the same way that Cats and Rabbits can.

This means that they can be kept in a house.  However, these are animals with a fairly wide natural home range.  They are also an extremely useful animal to have in the garden.  Perhaps the best way of keeping them would be for them to have the run of the house and also access to a very well fenced garden.

Cost

I will pass over the cost of getting this animal because at present they are not legally available.  The main cost would be the fencing of their outside area.  I that think in most cases the whole of a very large back yard would be ideal fenced area.  The fence would need to both keep the Quolls in and to keep other animals out.

This cost would be considerable.  But it could still be a much cheaper pet to keep than a Dog or a Cat.

Life Span

The Eastern Quoll does not live very long.  It might only live for a couple of years.  The Spotted-tailed Quoll lives longer.  If this short lived animal were kept as a pet, it is probable that the owner would want to breed.

This would mean a group of these fascinating animals, not just a single one.


 


 
 
 
 
Black Eastern Quoll
 
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Fawn Eastern Quoll
 
 
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