|A western quoll at Caversham Wildlife Park, Western Australia.|
|Western Quoll range|
The western quoll (Dasyurus geoffroii) is also known as the chuditch (especially Western Australia, from Noongar djooditj), atyelpe or chilpa (from Arrernte), kuninka (from Western Desert language), idnya (by the Adnyamathanha people of the Flinders Ranges) and western native cat. It is a medium-sized predator and has a white-spotted brown coat and a long tail like its eastern and northern relatives. It differs from the closely related eastern quoll in possessing a first toe on the hind foot and a darker tail. It is classed as a near-threatened Australian dasyuromorph, whose distribution is now confined to south-western Western Australia.
The western quoll is a solitary, nocturnal predator which is mostly terrestrial, although it does climb trees. It has a diet of small vertebrates, carrion, arthropods, and freshwater crayfish, among other things. The breeding season is from April to July.
The head and body average about 330 mm in length, with the tail averaging another 280 mm. An individual can weigh up to 2 kg, with males being slightly heavier.
The western quoll moves swiftly on the ground, climbs efficiently, and may dig or occupy existing holes in the ground. Activity is greatest around dusk and dawn with the animal being crepuscular.
The western quoll was formerly found throughout most of inland Australia, reaching areas of Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. It is now restricted to the south-western corner of Western Australia, where it inhabits wet and dry sclerophyll forests and mallee.
In April 2014 a 5 year trial re-introduction of western quoll to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia began. Despite the loss of about a third of the first release, mostly by feral cats; most of the surviving females bred and produced around 60 young. As of February 2015[update] a second batch of releases is planned.
The western quoll was described by John Gould in 1841, when it was still widespread throughout the continent. Its species name, geoffroii, refers to the prominent French naturalist Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, who named the genus Dasyurus in 1796. The species has sometimes been placed in the genus Dasyurinus.
The western quoll is a member of the family Dasyuridae and is most closely related to the bronze quoll (Dasyurus spartacus), a recently described species from New Guinea that was for some time believed to be an outlying population of the western quoll.
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