Chuditch (Nyoongar language); Western Quoll -
Dasyurus geoffroii fortis
Chuditch, a small, brown, native animal which is distinguished by
striking white spots on its upper body, is the largest carnivorous
marsupial in Western Australia. It has also been called the Western
Quoll or Western Native Cat."(2)
name chuditch, given by the Aboriginal people of southwestern
Australia to this animal, nicely echoes its explosive call when
it is in an aggressive mood or standing its ground in face of a
the early nineteenth century, it was found from Shark Bay to Esperance,
WA, and across the continent into western New South Wales and Queensland.
It is now restricted to the southwestern corner of Western Australia
and to Papua New Guinea."(1)
Australia's meagre Chuditch (Dasyurus geoffroii) population
... is estimated that only about 8000 remain in the wild ,
back from a couple of thousand less than a decade ago." (2)
den in hollow logs and burrows and have also been recorded in tree
hollows and cavities. Suitable hollow or burrow entrance diameters
are often at least 30 centimetres in diameter. An adult female chuditch
may utilise an estimated 66 logs and 110 burrows within her home
alteration and removal of suitable den logs and den sites following
land clearing, grazing and frequent wildfire have contributed to
a decline in chuditch numbers...
2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Vulnerable
Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act Threatened Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act Threatened (Vulnerable)"
it has also been called 'endangered'*, and has been struggling for
survival in the face of impending extinction for a number of decades.
Chuditch, which once occupied a wide range of climatic/vegetative
zones throughout Western Australia, declined dramatically in numbers
after European settlement, falling victim to such threats as land
clearing; overgrazing; forest fires; fox predation; competition
for food from foxes and feral cats; road traffic; poisoning, shooting
and trapping; and endemic disease.
the tiny Chuditch about half the size of the average house cat can
only be encountered in the State's Jarrah forest, although there
have been occasional sightings in the Wheatbelt and South Coast
areas. However, largely due to the threats mentioned above, the
only place most West Australians are able to see a chuditch is at
the Perth Zoo." (2)
chuditch will climb trees to catch prey or to escape from predators."
Arnold, J.M. (1983). Western Quoll. In R. Strahan (Ed.) The Complete
Book of Australian Mammals. Australian Museum and Angus &
Robertson Publishers. North Ryde, NSW.
2. Office of Community
Relations, Murdoch University (1997), Fighting back from the
edge of extinction, Synergy, Volume 1 No 2. http://wwwcomm.murdoch.edu.au/synergy/9702/chuditch.html
3. Department of Conservation
and Land Management, Government of Western Australia, Fauna Species
* "The Chuditch
has been listed as endangered by the Australian and New Zealand
Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) (ANPWS 1991) and has
also been listed in Schedule 1, Part 1 (endangered) of the Commonwealth
Endangered Species Protection Act 1992. In Western Australia, it
was gazetted as a Threatened Species (WA Wildlife Conservation Act
1950) in 1983, in recognition of its dramatically reduced range.
Chuditch have a short average life span and, within their present
range, are patchily distributed at low densities, even in high quality
habitat. Chuditch populations are consequently vulnerable to extinction
due to chance events or normal environmental fluctuations as well
as natural catastrophes and habitat destruction (Shaffer 1981; Soulé