Fun Quokka Facts
A-Z Collection of Really Cool Animals
Q is for Quokka Facts:
The quokka (Setonix brachyurus) is a type of nocturnal marsupial. It can be found on some smaller islands off the coast of Western Australia, in particular on Rottnest Island just off Perth, and Bald Island near Albany. The quokka is the only mammal to live on the island of Rottness. Quokkas were first described by Dutch sea captain Willem de Vlamingh, who reported finding “a kind of rat as big as a cat.” He named the quokkas’ island Ratte nest (“rat’s nest”), and then sailed away. Following are some additional Quokka facts of interest.
- The quokka is a round, stocky animal about the size of a domestic cat, with rounded ears, and a short, broad head, and a black nose. Its coarse fur is a brown-grey color, with a lighter shade underneath. Their big feet are tipped with very sharp claws.
- Quokkas grow to a length of approximately 16 to 35 inches (40 to 90),with a long tail of 9.9 to 11.8 inches (25 to 30 cm) long. They weigh from 5.5 to 11 pounds (2.5 to 5 kilograms).
- Quokkas live in groups, which are defended by dominant males, in tall grasses near water and scrublands, tunneling through the brush to create shelters and hideouts.
- Quokkas are herbivores who primarily feed at night. They eat the leaves, stems, and bark of many plants in addition to grass. If necessary, they can survive for long periods of time without food or water by living off the fat stored in their tails.
- On Rottness Island, Quokkas breed from January to August. After a month of gestation, the female gives birth to a baby called a joey. Females can give birth twice a year.
- The joey lives in its mother’s pouch for six months. Once it leaves the pouch, the joey relies on its mother for milk for two more months. At 1.5 years old, quokkas are old enough to have their own babies.
- Quokkas can live up to ten years in the wild.
- When being chased by a predator, a fleeing quokka mother will eject her baby from her pouch The predator’s attention falls on the fallen joey, and the mother quokka gets away.
- Quokkas are inquisitive animals, and have no fear of humans, having adapted to the human presence in their environment. It is common for it to approach people up close. Each year, the Rottnest Island infirmary treats dozens of patients—mostly children—for quokka bites.
- Quokkas make a nuisance of themselves by raiding kitchens, campsites, and local restaurants and cafe’s.
It is illegal to handle quokkas in any way on Rottnest Island. If caught, a person will be served an infringement notice and a $300(AUS). In addition, prosecution of the offense can result in a fine of up to $2,000(AUS).
Conservation Status of the Quokka
The IUCN Red List classifies the quokka as vulnerable due to declining populations and loss of habitat from logging and development. Threats include foxes, dogs, and cats on the mainland, which has limited their population. On Rottnest, there are no foxes, dogs, or cats, but human visitors have killed quokkas out of cruelty. Quokkas are also at risk of developing muscular dystrophy, a disease in which muscles are damaged and weakened.
Thank you for reading, “Q is for Quokka Facts”
A QUESTION FOR YOU:
Had you heard about the Quokka before today?
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