Habitat: Wet forests such as rainforests and closed eucalypt forests, woodlands, and coastal heaths

Distribution: Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania

Lifespan: 4-5 years; 3-4 in captivity 

Aboriginal name: Bindjulung

Conservation status: Listed by the IUCN on the Red List of Threatened Species as near-threatened. As of 2023, the Tasmanian population is regarded as vulnerable under the EPBC Act, while the Queensland population has been listed as endangered since July 2000.

Main threats: Habitat loss and forest fragmentation due to logging, land-clearing for development, bushfires and introduced species such as red foxes and feral cats


As its name suggests, the spotted-tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) is the only species whose pattern of white spots continues through to the tail. However, these spots may be indistinct on young animals. 

Although often described as Australia’s ‘native cats’, their appearance does not resemble that of a cat. Sporting rich red to dark brown fur, they are comparable in size to a cat but have shorter legs and a snout that is more rounded and elongated.

On average, an adult male weighs approximately 3.5 kilograms, while an adult female weighs around 2 kilograms.

Photo by Canva

While they look cute with their pink noses and soft fur, spotted-tailed quolls have sharp teeth and are, in fact, one of the largest native carnivores left on mainland Australia.

Fun fact: The spotted-tailed quoll ranks as Australia's second-largest meat-eating marsupial after the Tasmanian devil. It also has the second strongest bites of any predatory mammal in the world, after the Tasmanian devil.


This solitary animal likes to hunt and feed at night on a variety of prey including birds, medium-sized mammals and reptiles, which it attacks by biting the back of the skull or neck. It is also a scavenger and an opportunistic predator and may take on carrion and domestic fowl.

The spotted-tailed quoll can climb trees to escape a would-be predator. It will also hide in narrow den sites or cavities to stay out of harm's way. When threatened, it will lower its ears, crouch down low to the ground, and make a screeching noise to warn off its potential attacker.

Even though the spotted-tailed quoll is a solitary species, the females allow the males to overlap in their territories. Males are found moving between multiple female territories during the breeding season. Females breed about once a year and undergo a gestation period of 21 days, producing a single litter of up to 6 young.

When they give birth, their offspring are about the size of a grain of rice and are carried in a rudimentary pouch until they are large enough to be left behind in the den. These tiny pups will grow to about 2kg to 4kg, depending on their gender, by the time they reach adulthood.

The pups become independent at about 100 days, both females and males.

Having a connected rainforest is crucial to the long-term survival of this species. You can help protect spotted-tailed quoll habitat in the Daintree. Find out how.

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