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Digestibility of two diet items by captive eastern quolls (Dasyurus viverrinus).

ABSTRACT

The eastern quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus) is a carnivorous Australian marsupial that has undergone significant geographical range contraction since European settlement, and is extinct on the mainland. Nutrition is not well researched in captive eastern quolls, and captive diets often consist of commercial pet foods as opposed to raw meat or insect diets. Improving nutrition will enhance reproductive output and ensure suitable numbers of quolls are bred to be used in translocation programs. The present study analyzed the composition of kangaroo mince and chicken necks, and the digestibility of these items, in a captive environment. The quolls had high apparent total tract digestibility on the chicken neck and kangaroo mince treatments (DM 83-88%, GE 95-97%, protein 94-97%, and lipids 94-95%, respectively). The apparent total tract digestibility of DM, GE, and proteins was significantly higher (t14= 2.465, P < 0.05; t14= 2.489, P < 0.05; t14= 5.470, P < 0.01, respectively) on the kangaroo mince treatment compared with the chicken neck treatment. This study provides the first data on Cu (-18-37%), S (86-95%), and Zn (26-28%) apparent total tract digestibility in a Dasyurid. Data gathered during this study can be used to improve management practices for captive quolls, including diet formulation and mineral supplementation.