Quoll

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Quoll

The quoll is a carnivorous marsupial native to mainland Australia, New Guinea, and Tasmania. It is primarily nocturnal and spends most of the day in its den. Of the six species of quoll, four are found in Australia and two in New Guinea. Another two species are known from fossil remains in Pliocene and Pleistocene deposits in Queensland. Genetic evidence indicates that the quoll evolved around 15 million years ago in the Miocene, and that the ancestors of the six species had all diverged by around four million years ago. The quoll species vary in weight and size, from 300 g (11 oz) to 7 kg (15 lb). They have brown or black fur and pink noses. They are largely solitary, but come together for a few social interactions such as mating which occurs during the winter season. A female gives birth to up to 18 puppies, of which only six survive to suckle on her teats.

The quoll eats small mammals such as rabbits, small birds, lizards, and insects. Its natural lifespan is between two and five years. All species have drastically declined in numbers since Australasia was colonised by Europeans, with one species, the eastern quoll, becoming extinct on the Australian mainland, now being found only in Tasmania. Major threats to their survival include the cane toad, predators, urban development, and poison baiting. Conservation efforts include breeding programs in captivity.

Adults are between 25 and 75 cm (9.8 and 29.5 in) long, with hairy tails about 20 to 35 cm (7.9 to 13.8 in) long. Females have six nipples and develop a pouch during the breeding season, which opens toward the tail (with the exception of the tiger quoll, which has a true pouch) when they are rearing young. Their coats are brown or black, with some colour variants in between. They have bright pink noses and long snouts. Their natural lifespans are between two and five years; the larger species tend to live longer than the smaller. Quolls are solitary, nocturnal animals. The average weight differs greatly depending on the species; male western and eastern quolls weigh about 1.3 kg (2.9 lb) and females 0.9 kg (2.0 lb). The tiger quoll is the largest, with the male weighing about 7 kg (15 lb) and the female 4 kg (8.8 lb). The northern quoll is the smallest, and the male weighs on average 400 to 900 g (14 to 32 oz), and the female 300 to 500 g (11 to 18 oz).

Quoll

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