Female Spot-tailed Quoll at latrine site. Photo Chris Belcher.

Two recent unconfirmed reports offer a glimmer of hope that this beautiful animal still survives in our region.

In 2010 an animal resembling a Spot-tailed Quoll was seen crossing a road at Terip, east of Ruffy. And in Jan 2011 a Spot-tailed Quoll was seen by a local farmer whilst a passenger in a car driving north-west along the Euroa-Mansfield Rd, at night. He saw an animal “the size of a small cat, dark coloured, with light-coloured spots on the body”, on the left verge of the road. He saw it clearly for a few seconds and the car passed within about 3 m of the animal, which then moved off the road verge into roadside vegetation. This farmer remembers the photo of a Spot-tailed Quoll in the Eoroa Gazette in 1984 (the Creighton’s Ck record, see below). He can’t remember if the animal he saw this night had spots on the tail and he’s never seen a wild Quoll before, but he grew up in the bush and is familiar with local wildlife. From his description and comments this seems to be a genuine and reliable (though unconfirmed) record.

Location of three recent Spot-tailed Quoll records in the Strathbogie Ranges.

The Spot-tailed Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) is the largest marsupial carnivore on the  Australia mainland (Thylacines and Tassy Devils have been extinct on the mainland for a few thousand years). Since European colonization the Spot-tailed Quoll has been steadily declining and is now seriously threatened with extinction in Victoria.

The last confirmed record of this species in the Strathbogie Ranges was in 1984. The male Spot-tailed Quoll was caught in a rabbit trap in the Creighton’s Creek district on the morning of 8 June 1984 – it had an injured foot.  It was picked-up that afternoon by scientists from the Arthur Rylah Institute/DSE and taken to Melbourne for rehabilitation.  Once recovered, it was released into suitable habitat in another area (C. Silveira personal communication 2011).

Department of Sustainability and Environment surveys for Spot-tailed Quolls were undertaken in the eastern Strathbogies in 2008, but failed to find any evidence of their presence. Perhaps its time to search some other parts of the Strathbogies for Quolls!