- Family: Dasyuridae (Dasyurids)
- Class: Mammalia
- National Status: Endangered
- State Status: Critically Endangered (NT)
Small carnivores with large stomachs, Northern Quolls readily tackle prey (smaller mammals, reptiles, and invertebrates) a quarter of their size. They live in a variety of habitats, preferring rocky areas near water, and were previously found across most of northern Australia. In recent decades their numbers have declined in many areas due to changes in fire patterns, competition from feral cats, and most recently, the invasion of poisonous Cane Toads.
Northern Quolls become sexually mature at one year of age. Females den in hollows and rock crevices, and raise their litter of up to eight young in the second half of the year. Males provide no parental care; however, during the mating season (around June or July) they expend enormous energy fighting other males to mate with as many females as they can. This Herculean effort, bankrolled with a diet of elevated testosterone, leaves them exhausted and so run down that their hair falls out, they develop skin ulcers, and indeed most males die soon after. This means that at the end of the year the Northern Quoll population is almost wholly made up of mature females and their young.
Quolls appear more likely to survive the onslaught of Cane Toads where their populations are dense before the invasion. The rocky escarpments of the gorges and gullies of Pungalina provide the perfect home for Northern Quolls, and are likely to support large numbers of this spunky predator. Active management to reduce the frequency and size of fires will be a priority for AWC to ensure the Northern Quoll’s survival at Pungalina.