Get Regular Updates!
|Endangered chuditch takes biggest predator crown



Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions

Endangered chuditch takes biggest predator crown

Endangered chuditch takes biggest predator crown

Conservation efforts have brought Western Australia’s biggest native mammal predator, the chuditch, back from the brink of extinction.

Endangered chuditch takes biggest predator crown

Cute? Yep. Courageous? You betcha. Endangered? Unfortunately, yes.

So how is it that the diminutive WA marsupial – the chuditch – is the state’s biggest native mammal predator?

It may seem strange, but our lack of large predatory mammals means this carnivorous marsupial, weighing in at just 1.5kg, takes the crown as the state’s largest native mammal predator, except for the introduced dingo.

But more recently, the lightweight predator is earning applause for a new reason.

Populations of the chuditch have begun bouncing back from the brink of extinction.

Video|DBCA’s Parks and Wildlife Service
What’s a chuditch?


So good is the recovery that conservationists have translocated 100 Western Australian chuditch to South Australia’s Flinders Ranges.

The translocated chuditch are breeding and spreading in the SA region they last inhabited some 100 years ago.

And recently, residents have reported chuditch sightings outside Perth – a place they last occurred in the 1950s.

It’s a good news story amid a sad era for many small to medium-sized native mammals whose populations are in decline.

That’s the word from Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) animal science programme leader Keith Morris.

Keith says chuditch once ranged through most of Australia’s southern half.

But their population plummeted after foxes and feral cats entered Australia in the 1800s.

The chuditch’s fearsome reputation as a chicken thief didn’t help.

Early settlers trapped and shot chuditch to protect their chickens.

Eventually, their population shrunk to just southwest WA.

View Larger
Image|Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions
While still classed as vulnerable, populations of the chuditch are bouncing back


In 1996, the then Department of Conservation and Land Management unleashed its Western Shield fauna recovery programme.

As part of the programme, the department (now DBCA) controlled foxes over 3.5Mha of southwest WA with baits.

The baiting slashed fox populations by up to 80%. But feral cats continued to thrive and attack native animals.

Fortunately, the chuditch was not as vulnerable to feral cats as it was to foxes. Their feisty nature and agility make them more than a handful for these wild cats to handle.

“Cats don’t seem to impact as badly on chuditch as other animals like the numbat and woylie,” Keith says.

The Chuditch preys on birds, reptiles and other mammals, and Keith has even heard cases of them dining on wild kittens – a rare instance of a native marsupial getting its own back.

Video|DBCA’s Parks and Wildlife Service
The story of Western Shield


DBCA estimates about 10,000 chuditch occur in the southwest. They range from Kalbarri to Esperance.

The translocated Flinders Ranges population will further boost its numbers. And conservationists also plan to reintroduce chuditch to New South Wales.

But despite the improvements, conservationists are unsure just how stable the chuditch population remains.

As such, our biggest native predator retains its endangered listing as vulnerable.

Particle Puns


Creative Commons Logo

Republishing our content

We want our stories to be shared and seen by as many people as possible.

Therefore, unless it says otherwise, copyright on the stories on Particle belongs to Scitech and they are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

This allows you to republish our articles online or in print for free. You just need to credit us and link to us, and you can’t edit our material or sell it separately.

Using the ‘republish’ button on our website is the easiest way to meet our guidelines.


You cannot edit the article.

When republishing, you have to credit our authors, ideally in the byline. You have to credit Particle with a link back to the original publication on Particle.

If you’re republishing online, you must use our pageview counter, link to us and include links from our story. Our page view counter is a small pixel-ping (invisible to the eye) that allows us to know when our content is republished. It’s a condition of our guidelines that you include our counter. If you use the ‘republish’ then you’ll capture our page counter.

If you’re republishing in print, please email us to let us so we know about it (we get very proud to see our work republished) and you must include the Particle logo next to the credits. Download logo here.

If you wish to republish all our stories, please contact us directly to discuss this opportunity.


Most of the images used on Particle are copyright of the photographer who made them.

It is your responsibility to confirm that you’re licensed to republish images in our articles.


All Particle videos can be accessed through YouTube under the Standard YouTube Licence.

The Standard YouTube licence

  1. This licence is ‘All Rights Reserved’, granting provisions for YouTube to display the content, and YouTube’s visitors to stream the content. This means that the content may be streamed from YouTube but specifically forbids downloading, adaptation, and redistribution, except where otherwise licensed. When uploading your content to YouTube it will automatically use the Standard YouTube licence. You can check this by clicking on Advanced Settings and looking at the dropdown box ‘License and rights ownership’.
  2. When a user is uploading a video he has license options that he can choose from. The first option is “standard YouTube License” which means that you grant the broadcasting rights to YouTube. This essentially means that your video can only be accessed from YouTube for watching purpose and cannot be reproduced or distributed in any other form without your consent.


For more information about using our content, email us:

Copy this HTML into your CMS
Press Ctrl+C to copy

We've got chemistry. Want something physical?