There's a reason why the tiger quoll is considered one of the most ferocious hunters in the Australian bush.

Tasmanian tour guide Liam Weaver filmed this incredible encounter near a road leading into the island state's southwest wilderness. "Footage of a lifetime!" he wrote when posting the clip to the Tassie Bound Facebook page. "[T]his morning we watched on as a tiger quoll took down a wallaby right before our eyes!"

The spotted-tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus), also known as the tiger quoll, is only about the size of your pet cat, but it's the largest marsupial carnivore on mainland Australia (and in Tasmania, it is second in size only to the Tasmanian devil) – and it's a famously unfussy eater. Insects? Sure. Possum? Why not. Small wallaby? Delicious. 

Still, these s
potted carnivores usually set their sights on more manageable prey, and witnessing a hunt this ambitious is rare. The animals will also happily feast on carrion, but Weaver insists (despite some skepticism from commenters on social media) that this particular individual was no scavenger.

"It was a fight ... the quoll fought the wallaby! If you watch the wallaby's tail at the start of footage, it's still alive," he wrote. When prey is this large, the quolls will jump up to reach the neck area, and their strong teeth and jaws do the rest.

Not wanting to disturb the animals, Weaver watched the attack unfold from a distance, approaching only once the quoll had secured its meal. "Due to the wallaby's weight and the way it was fighting back it seemed very healthy," he added. "It was a cold morning at 10am and quolls are usually nocturnal so [the wallaby] may have been a little surprised and fought back."

Australia's quolls (the continent is home to four species) are ecologically important rodent hunters and carcass cleaners, yet sadly, these threatened marsupials are all at risk, with some populations in drastic decline.


Top header image: Andy Nelson, Flickr