They might be small but the eastern quoll is mighty, and deadly too, with a new study revealing they will munch on just about anything – including much-loved fairy penguins.
As part of a new research program the tiny native carnivores were released into the Booderee National Park in NSW.
Researchers at The Australian National University found they can hunt small mammals, invertebrates, birds, reptiles, frogs and fish. Sometimes their tastebuds even extend to penguins.
They analysed poo samples from quolls and detected the remains of several animals including fairy penguins.
Quolls also used supplementary feedings stations which scientists suggest may be an important strategy for establishing populations in the wild.
“Local residents reported adult quolls taking food scraps, predating on domestic chickens, and juvenile quolls entering pet enclosures, presumably attracted to pet food,” study authors said
Scientists said their ability to hunt in the wild is an important finding considering their limited exposure to hunting in captivity.