Voting closed! We’ll be back in two hours with the result and to open voting for the Top 7.
The northern quoll has finally headed south, eliminated from the Top 9 and the 2022 Australian Mammal of the Year competition after falling to last position just 11 votes behind the platypus. Northern quolls are adapted to extreme habitats in northern Australia with the ability to squeeze through tiny crevices and climb near-vertical surfaces – but unfortunately it wasn’t able to climb this ladder.
Now you’ve got just 22 hours to vote for your favourite in the Top 8, after which we’ll remove the lowest-rated mammal, clear the tallies and start again at the same time tomorrow. Get behind our mammals and give them a shoutout to your friends to get them into the next rounds.
RIP to the northern quoll
Name(s): Northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus)
Size: The smallest of the four Australian quoll species. Body length 25-37cm, weight up to 1.2kg.
Diet: Opportunistic omnivore (which means almost everything, including insects, small rodents, fruit and carrion).
Habitat: Isolated mainland and island populations in northern Queensland, the Northern Territory as well as the Pilbara and Kimberley regions of Western Australia.
Conservation status: Endangered
Superpower: Super strength! Female northern quolls can carry around up to EIGHT young in their pouch and on their back while traversing rugged country.
That’s not the only fascinating thing about northern quolls. They are also the largest mammal with a semelparous life history. In simple terms, this means that male northern quolls only live for one year and generally die off after their first (and usually last) breeding season. During the breeding season, male northern quolls run huge distances and breed with multiple female northern quolls to try and pass on their genes. By the end of this ordeal, their body begins to break down and eventually they begin to die off. You could say they live a real rock ’n’ roll lifestyle!
Female northern quolls, like some other mammals, can have multiple young with different fathers in the same litter—this helps to keep the genetic pool strong for future generations. What makes northern quolls stand out from the rest, however, is that their young often have little to no competition from large males due to the mass die-off after breeding season. This increases the chances of young northern quolls surviving to adulthood. Female northern quolls care for their babies until they are big enough to leave the den and fend for themselves.
Northern quolls are threatened across their range by invasive species such as feral cats and foxes which hunt them, as well as cane toads which poison northern quolls that eat them. However, with our help and your vote, northern quolls can continue to rule the night in northern Australia, hunting and climbing for many years to come!
In no particular order, here are our Top 8!
Mountain pygmy possum (Burramys parvus)
This alpine darling might be hibernating, but that didn’t stop its ascent to the top of the Hello Possums category and into the running for Mammal of the Year.
Gilbert’s Potoroo (Potorous gilbertii)
This beautiful little fungus eater hopped to the top of the Marvellous Macropods and stayed there with a quarter of all the votes, pipping the Quokka at the post.
Eastern barred bandicoot (Perameles gunnii)
Perhaps the most unexpected takeover of the entire competition, the eastern barred bandicoot secured number 1 position in the Beloved Burrowers category with a quarter of the support after unseating the previously unshakeable greater bilby (19%).
Dingo (Canis dingo or Canis familiaris)
Australia’s charismatic but controversial native dog took out the top spot in the Rock Stars category in a landslide with a whopping 35% of the vote!
Think hard about your choice because you can only vote once per round!
Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)
The platypus also got a whole lot of love – swimming its way into the Top 10 as the next highest voted mammal across all of the categories other than the category winners.
Dugong (Dugong dugon)
Surprising few, the darling dugong remained master of the Marine Mammals with 37% of the vote – well ahead of runner up the Australian fur seal with 13%.
Rakali or Australian water rat (Hydromys chrysogaster)
The wondrous water rat emerged victorious, and without tough competition from the rest of the Rollicking Rodents, carrying a healthy 32% of the votes across the finishing line.
Southern bent-wing bat (Miniopterus orianae bassanii)
An incredible surge of last-minute voting in the Brilliant Bats category saw a surprising switcheroo; the southern bent-wing bat swooping ahead of the spectacled flying-fox and into the Top 10 with 36% of the votes.
How does voting work?
“But how does voting work?” you may ask. Don’t worry, it’s super simple.
Voting has now opened for the Top 8 (from 12:00pm AEST Wednesday 17 August) and will be open for 22 hours – closing tomorrow, Thursday 18 August, at 10:00am AEST.
Then, at 12:00pm AEST we’ll announce the mammal that has received the least votes and has been booted out of the running.
We’ll set the tally back to zero and open up voting for the Top 7 anew.
Each day we’ll whittle away at the list of our most marvellous mammals until the last two left standing are announced on Tuesday 23 August.
With voting open for two days, we’ll finally put the debate to rest (for this year at least) and crown Australia’s Mammal of the Year on Thursday 25 August!
Vote for your pick in the Top 8 here:
Imma Perfetto is a science journalist at Cosmos. She has a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Science Communication from the University of Adelaide.
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