Something special in our cage trap

May 19, 2009 by
Filed under: Australian Mammals 
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Trapping animals is sometimes like a lucky dip.

Just imagine you are in a beautiful national park undertaking a wildlife survey where you have 48 cage traps setup, each trap about 250 metres apart. You have to drive through fabulous tall eucalypt forests and rainforest to check the traps and there is wildlife running across the road all the time. You never know when you get out of the car and then walk into the bushland what is inside the trap.

Sometimes we capture something very special, and on my recent trip to Mount Royal National Park we captured one of mainland Australia’s rarest animals, a Spotted-tailed Quoll.

Quoll Trapping

Spotted-tailed Quoll inside capture bag

This beautiful animal was trapped in a cage trap and lured into there by a piece of white bread buttered with strawberry jam and a ball of a mixture of peanut butter, oats and honey. We were not actually trying to catch quolls we were searching for something else, but catching a quoll is a real bonus.

Quoll in CageTrap

Spotted-tailed Quoll in cage trap

Myself, Richard Harris the Ranger, Vicki Elliott and Richard Ali all helped with the capture and handling of this quoll. They can be very aggressive when trapped, and great care has to be taken when handling the animal so that neither the animal or the handler get injured in any way. Quolls have incredibly strong jaws and could easily crush my hand if I am careless.

Video of capturing, handling and releasing a Spotted-tailed Quoll

Thanks to the photography skills of Richard Ali, I was able to compile this short video on our quoll capture. I know you will enjoy looking at it.

It is difficult to photograph a quoll in the wild, I’ve been working in the Australian bush for many years and I have never seen a quoll in the wild, except when I have trapped one. Fortunately I found a really great picture of one taken by Pierre Pouliquin on flickr.

Spotted-tailed Quoll photographed by

Spotted-tailed Quoll photographed by Pierre Pouliquin

Trapping¬† one of Australia’s rarest animals, a Spotted-tailed quoll and see one up close and prsonal,¬† is a real treat.¬† If you want to see more pictures of our trapping click here.



11 Responses to “Something special in our cage trap”
  1. hi dad i think that you did a great job at this love phoebe.

    hi doug your video was good :)from sarah

  2. gerard says:

    excellent stuff – clear and enjoyable too

  3. Liesbeth Slot-Beckers says:

    Hi there Doug, we’re enjoying your fantastic blog here in The Netherlands. Good stuff, very interesting! how about an article about Australian butterfies?
    Groetjes Liesbeth

    • Doug Beckers says:

      Great idea Liesbeth,

      an article about Australian Butterflies would be great. We don’t have many around at the moment because of the cool wet weather, but an article in our Spring would be good because we have lots of butterflies around our house when it is warm.


  4. Brian Dodd says:

    I have a Quoll which has so far killed 13 chooks. I want to trap it and relocate it to a nearby National Park.
    What type of trap did you use to accidently capture your quoll.
    I was also interested in what bait lured the Quoll into the trap as I didn’t want to put a chook in there………they are so vicious and do such damage to my poor chooks.

    • Doug Beckers says:


      Your poor chooks! Brian, trapping and relocating your quoll probably won’t do you any good. You obviously live in an area where there are quolls and the one you trap, or another one, will only come back and have your chooks again.

      The only thing I suggest is to “Quoll-proof” your chicken cop, which I appreciate is easier said than done as quolls are expert climbers and quoll-proofing is an expensive operation. (I wish there was some funding for farmers to quoll-proof chicken coops, as there would be a lot more of the endangered animals around!).

      I didn’t use anything special to trap this quoll, white bread with strawberry jam did the trick, although I know that chicken wings also are good lures. Bear in mind though that trapping quolls has its risks, both to the quoll and the trapper! In NSW, and I’m not sure about the rest of the states, you need a licence to trap a quoll as they are protected animals.

      I hope this helps, but although they eat chooks, they are exceptionally special animals and you are very fortunate to have them in your backyard.


      • Chris says:

        Hi Brian
        For handy hints and tips on living with quolls, contact Wildlife Queensland ( They have a quoll info kit on CD that has been produced for landholders such as yourself to help live with quolls, including how to quoll-proof your chook pen.

        They also had funding for landholders to quoll-proof their chook pens but it was restricted to Queensland and has now finished. Good to see some assistance out there though.

      • Andrea says:

        There is funding!!

        In QLD at least – have a look at this:

  5. tony miles says:

    hi doug i was looking on various web sites trying to id a quoll my wife and i saw on our way home i saw it at nowendoc (approx 120km west of taree) it was the same as a spotted tailed quoll but definately had no spots on its tail cant produce a photo but i thought you may be able to help me cheers

    • Doug Beckers says:

      Hi Tony,

      how big was the quoll you saw? Sometime it is difficult to see the spots as they can be obscure.


  6. Kim Stephan says:

    Hi Doug,
    Such a special animal and what a smooth operation. Shame it is such a rare occurrence to see a Spotted-tailed Quoll. Wouldn’t it be great to see wildlife corridors linking Mt Royal N.P with Wollemi N.P to give the ST quoll a chance of surviving into the future.

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