|A western quoll at Caversham Wildlife Park, Western Australia.|
|Western Quoll range|
The western quoll (Dasyurus geoffroii) is one of many mammals native to Australia. It is also known as the chuditch (//) in Western Australia (from Noongar djooditj); chuditch serves as both the singular and plural form. Other common names include atyelpe or chilpa (from Arrernte), kuninka (from Western Desert language), idnya (Adnyamathanha people of the Flinders Ranges) and the archaic western native cat.
It is currently classed as near-threatened.
The western quoll is about the size of a medium to large domestic cat. It is coloured a rufous brown with numerous white spots on its back and has a creamy white underside. There are five toes on its hind feet and granular pads. The head and body average about 330 mm in length, with the tail averaging another 280 mm. Males typically weigh around 1.3 kg, and females 0.9 kg.
Like the eastern quoll and northern quoll, it has a white-spotted brown coat and a long tail. Often confused with eastern quoll, it differs in possessing a first toe on the hind foot and a darker tail.
A solitary, mostly terrestrial nocturnal predator, the western quoll is most active around dusk (crepuscular). It moves swiftly on the ground, climbs efficiently, and may dig or occupy existing burrows.
Once found across 70% of the Australian continent, the western quoll's current distribution is now confined to south-western corner of Western Australia, although there are ongoing attempts to re-establish it in parts of its former range. It there inhabits wet and dry sclerophyll forests, including the Jarrah Forest, and mallee.
A five-year trial re-introduction of western quoll to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia began in April 2014. Despite the loss of about a third of the first release population (mostly due to predation by feral cats), most of the surviving females bred and sixty joeys were born. As of 2015, 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 occasionally 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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