A GRAFTON resident got the surprise of her life when her dog sniffed out a spotted-tailed quoll hiding behind a pile of wood under her house.
The Fry St resident heard noises around her house on Tuesday night and dismissed them as possums however the next morning a ruckus outside caused suspicion and that's when she let her dog out who found the juvenile male quoll.
Clarence Valley National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Ranger Justin Kreis was amazed the furry creature had managed to sneak in under the house without anyone seeing it.
"NPWS has very few recorded incidences of quolls in residential areas and this discovery is even more special as the spotted-tailed quoll is listed as 'Vulnerable' on the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995," Mr Kreis said.
"We are very grateful that the resident called WIRES who came and rescued the healthy but shy quoll and will care for it until it is released into the wild."
The spotted-tailed quoll is about the size of a domestic cat and is identified by its unique irregular white spots. It has rich-rust to dark-brown fur and a pale belly and adult males weight around three kilograms while adult females are smaller.
Mr Kreis said quolls usually bred between April and July and it was quite likely the young male found in Grafton had been displaced by older, dominant males.
"It likely wandered into town from a national park or forested area around the Clarence Valley where sightings have been recorded in the past," Mr Kreis said.
"The nearby Northern Tablelands to the west of Clarence Valley is considered to be a stronghold of the spotted-tailed quoll and is critical to the species' survival.
"They have also been sighted in other areas of eastern NSW in a number of habitats including rainforest, open forest, woodland, coastal heath and inland riparian forest."
Members of the public who think they have found a quoll are advised to contact their local NPWS office or WIRES.
Threatened species like the spotted-tailed quoll are part of the Office of Environment and Heritage's Saving Our Species program.
To find out more about threatened species, visit www.environment.nsw.gov.au/savingourspecies/about.htm.