“What are you and what are you doing in my house?”
That was Katina Stowe’s reaction to what looked like a possum on the prowl in her Raymond Terrace home.
Loud scratching had woken Miss Stowe and her partner Timmy Bronson with a start in the early hours of Thursday morning.
“I said ‘what are you’ and it bolted into my bathroom,” Miss Stowe said.
“It’s knocked over ornaments and shampoo bottles. It trashed my bathroom.
“And I’m thinking how did it get into my house when it’s all locked up?”
Faced with so many questions the couple turned to the internet for answers.
“I googled ‘possum with spots’ and it came up with spotted quoll,” Miss Stowe said.
Alternatively known as tiger quolls generally grow to three or four kilograms and have a taste for backyard chickens.
Miss Stowe put a call out to Facebook for help to extradite the rogue marsupial and waited for the stubborn guest to leave.
“It started sleeping in my sink,” Miss Stowe said.
“We said ‘come on, mate, here’s the window, you can leave now.”
A good Samaritan offered to rescue the quoll but it left of its own will about 7.30am.
The home on Kuranga Avenue is opposite a stand of trees.
“It’s where all these houses are planned,” Miss Stowe said.
“Hopefully this puts a hold on it.”
The carnivorous species is considered vulnerable since its habitat has dwindled across the state.
“They’re hunting at night and it may well have been after a mouse or rat,” National Parks and Wildlife Service quoll guru Geoff Ross said.
“Or it might have just liked that bathroom. For those people to have one in their home is quite a privilege.”
Carnivorous marsupials are a rarity. The eastern quoll is all but extinct and the tiger quoll can sometimes be found on the urban fringes. It’s next biggest cousin is the Tasmanian devil.
Mr Ross said the largest tiger quoll he had seen was sadly dead by the side of the road near Kiama and weighed nearly four kilograms.
“That’s the kind of animal that would even take on a brush tail possum,” he said. “That’s something even I’m reluctant to do.”
People who see a spotted-tail quoll are asked to report it to the National Parks and Wildlife Service for mapping purposes.