Wild Things: Life as We Know It- page 5 | Science | Smithsonian
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Northern quolls, cat-size Australian marsupials (FLPA / David Hosking / AGE Fotostock)

Wild Things: Life as We Know It

Hummingbirds, birch trees, queen bees, northern quolls and more...

Bitter Lessons

Northern quolls, cat-size Australian marsupials
(FLPA / David Hosking / AGE Fotostock)
Northern quolls, cat-size Australian marsupials, are driving themselves to extinction by eating toxic cane toads invading their territory. But researchers down under have taught some quolls to save themselves. They applied a nauseating chemical to cane toads too small to be lethal, and then fed those amphibians to quolls, much to the quolls’ disgust. When released into the wild, those quolls survived up to five times longer than untrained animals. The researchers envision deploying batches of chemically treated cane toads to teach quolls the bitter truth.

Learn more about the northern quoll at the Encyclopedia of Life.

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