Cuddly Australian Marsupial, The Quoll, Also Eats People
"During my research over the last 12 years I found over 100 accounts of quolls eating human corpses."
Quolls have joined the pantheon of cute-but-savage Australian wildlife after researchers discovered their morbid penchant for human flesh.
A historical study from the University of Adelaide has unearthed more than 100 instances of quolls snacking on people as a means of supplementing their diet.
Chief researcher Dr David Peacock recently concluded his 12-year study into the project, which was basically along the lines of “All The Times Quolls Have Eaten People”.
In a fact that was certainly news to me, sweet little quolls are actually carnivorous and enjoy a diet of insects, birds, frogs, and *checks notes* human ears.
In a piece for The Conversation, Dr Peacock explained that quolls are known for feeding on carrion (dead stuff) as a means of staying alive when food is tough to find — including dead humans.
The “lack of support structures” in early colonial Australia meant that human death in the bush was commonplace. Native quoll populations were also much bigger before the introduction of introduced pests, like cats and foxes. Dr Peacock told the ABC that this meant when someone passed away in the wild back in the 1800s “often, the quolls got to them first”.
For example, one account from 1862 includes a police officer discovered a human body that had already been beset by “seven quolls” who were seen feasting on the remains.
A recorded victim of an attack by the infamous Ned Kelly gang, Sergeant Michael Kennedy had his body recovered sans ear after his corpse was discovered by quolls.
In a particularly gruesome example of quolls committing homicide, a man had his “fingers and toes” eaten while lost in the Victorian forest of Winchelsea, with a witness further stating quolls had “bitten his face and torn his nose away”. He later died from his injuries.
Compared to their fellow Tasmanian devils, quolls can be quite fussy when it comes to people — do not Google it — with most historical accounts reporting “facial damage to the eyes, ears, nose, or tongue” as a quoll’s delicacy of choice.
Dr Peacock reported that Quoll attacks steadily ceased after the 1900s, citing declining populations from introduced pests and disease.
Today, the remaining four species of native quoll are struggling to survive in Australia and, according to Dr Peacock, are either listed as endangered or vulnerable. While Dr Peacock wrote in The Conversation that he hopes “quolls never again chew on a human corpse”, he’s an avid supporter of stronger conservation measure that would see our furry friends “resume their role in the bush as tough and wily predators”.