The small white spotted quoll is a nocturnal carnivorous mammal and is native to the eastern coast of New South Wales. Considered an excellent hunter, the land dwelling quoll will climb trees to get its prey and raid the nests of possums and gliders. Now a vulnerable species in New South Wales, their depletion has variously been attributed to degradation of their habitat and accidental poisoning by farmers intending to affect the fox and feral cat population.
Four species of quoll occur in Australia: the northern, spotted-tailed, eastern and western quolls. Once, most parts of Australia were inhabited by at least one of the species. Captain Cook collected quolls along the east coast in 1770, and recorded "quoll" as their local Aboriginal name. Quolls were often seen by early settlers, who called them "native cat", "native polecat" and "spotted marten", names based on familiar European animals. Since 1770, all four species have declined dramatically in numbers. This is mainly because of habitat loss or change across Australia, and introduced predators such as foxes and cats.
Quolls are carnivorous marsupials with a pointed snout, a long tail and brown to black fur distinctively spotted with white. They are lively, attractive animals, with bright eyes, a moist pink nose and many sharp teeth.
The largest species, the spotted-tailed quoll, eats birds, reptiles and mammals such as bandicoots, possums, echidnas and rabbits. The smaller quolls eat mainly insects, birds, frogs, lizards, snakes, small mammals and fruit. Quolls also eat carrion (dead animals), and sometimes scavenge around campsites and rubbish bins.
Like most Australian mammals, quolls are mainly active at night. Typically, they spend the day in one of their many dens, although spotted-tailed quolls and northern quolls sometimes forage and bask in the sunshine. Their large home ranges can extend for several kilometres in each direction marked out by their own urine.
Quolls reach sexual maturity at one year. They have a naturally short life span, with smaller quolls living an average of only two years, and the larger spotted-tailed quoll about four to five years.