Fascinating follow-up to last month’s Spotted-tailed Quoll story…

Last month’s article about the recent quoll capture near Beachport triggered a couple of fascinating follow-up stories that are definitely worth sharing!

First of all, the story of the Spotted-tailed Quoll captured at Cobdogla, near Barmera, on the River Murray in SA in 1959, brought back some some interesting childhood memories for one of our subscribers, Hallett Shueard. By the way, among other things, Hallett is the author of a very interesting book about the pre-colonial European history of Kangaroo Island, called The Forgotten Men.

In response to the article, Hallett wrote:

“I was fascinated to read of the quoll being caught in the South East, and then the flashback article on the native tiger cat at Cobdogla. I was a young student at Cobdogla Primary School at the time Nobby Rogers caught this rare animal. It was caught on the river in a rabbit trap which many people at the time used for trapping native water rats for their skins. He brought it in to the school when it was alive to show the students. I have often brought this sighting up, but people generally tell me that it couldn’t have been possible as it was extinct in South Australia. We also saw platypus in the wild at Cobdogla when we were out bird nesting (as most kids did back then).”

Thankfully Hallett now has some concrete evidence to be able to call upon when he talks about this rare encounter in the future!

Secondly, I was also very interested to hear from Dr Rod Bird, from the Hamilton Field Naturalists Club, who shared a report he wrote in 1997 entitled “History, Mammal and Bird Surveys of the Mount Napier State Park”. In this report, Rod recounts his breadth of natural history observations over a 20 year period in the Mt Napier State Park in south-western Victoria, and although he never personally saw a Spotted-tailed Quoll, he did refer to accounts of strange animals sighted on nearby farms in the 1970s that may have been quolls.

Thankfully, one of these sightings from a farm house at North Byaduk in 1975, produced solid photographic evidence – which is shown below.

A Spotted-tailed Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) in a tree at a farm house in North Byaduk – photo by Margaret Rundell in 1975.

Of this encounter on a farm at North Byaduk in 1975, Rod said:

“This photo was given to me years later and I talked with the old lady (Margaret Rundell) about the circumstances of the sighting. Apparently a dog chased the animal up a tree near her back door, enabling her to get the photo with an old camera! When the dog got tired and fell asleep the animal ran off! It seemed to me that quolls spent a lot of time on farms – but perhaps they were just much easier to see there when they did venture out of the forest. I did a lot of surveying in the park in the period 1975-1995 (and some later), plus quite a lot of walking, but never sighted any.”

Finally, I thought it would be worth sharing another rare but very recent encounter from earlier this year, also from Victoria, which was reported in the media after a quoll was found in a chicken coup in the outer-eastern Melbourne suburb of Wonga Park. This initial on-line story explains how the quoll was found, and this later article explains what happened next, including its later release into the Yarra Ranges National Park.

Zoos Victoria, who cared for the animal at Healesville Sanctuary prior to its release, actually put together a nice short video to explain the story – which is shared below.

If you are reading this article, and have any interesting quoll (or other rare wildlife) encounters of your own to share – especially if you have photographic or video evidence – please get in touch (), as we’d love to hear from you.

With your help, we can keep the memory of – and interest in – our otherwise forgotten fauna very much alive!

Mark Bachmann