What is Quokka?

The quokka, the sole member of the Setonix genus, is a tiny macropod approximately the size of a domestic cat that lives in western Australia. Additionally, it is referred to as the scrub wallaby with a short tail. Today’s Quokka facts will teach you all you need to know about this cheerful creature.

If you are ever fortunate enough to come face to face with a Quokka, you will almost certainly burst out in a smile. What is the cause, you may wonder? This tiny wallaby, who has become a social media sensation and the subject of countless ‘selfies’ on Rottnest Island, seems to be in a constant state of happiness. Let’s find out some interesting and amusing Quokka facts today.

Scientific Classification (1)

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Infraclass: Marsupialia
  • Order: Diprodontia
  • Family: Macropodidae
  • Subfamily: Macropodinae
  • Genus: Setonix
  • Species: S. brachyurus

Quokka Facts 1-13

1. The scientific name of Quokka is Setonix brachyurus. It is the only member extant in the Setonix genus. (1)

2. A native of Australia‘s southwestern coasts, the quokka was widespread until the 1930s, when it was replaced by the red fox, Vulpes vulpes, which is now extinct. In many places, this ravenous predator was able to dispatch the quokkas in quick order. (2)

Due to the fact that the foxes didn’t actually make it to Rottnest Island, quokkas are far more common on the Rottnest Island. (2)

3. Quokkas may be found in three major habitats: fragmented reserves around Albany on the south coast; the northern jarrah Eucalyptus marginata forest (north of Perth); and the southern jarrah Eucalyptus marginata forest (between Nannup and Denmark). (3)

Because of the absence of (or controllable population of) invasive predators on Rottnest Island, Quokkas are more common on the island than in the rest of the country. (3)

4. Rottnest Island is home to about 10,000 Quokkas at this time. (3)

5. In 1696, Willem de Vlamingh, a Dutch explorer called the island ‘Rotte Nest’ (‘rats’ nest,’ after the kangaroo and wallaby families), mistaking the macropods (the kangaroo and wallaby family) on the island for gigantic rats. (2)

6. A quokka weighs from 2.5 to 5.0 kilograms. It is around 40 to 54 cm in length, with a tail that is 25 to 30 cm in length, which is quite small for a macropod. (1)

7. Despite its small, wide head and stocky form, it has well-developed hind legs, rounded ears, and a short, broad body. (1)

8. Despite having the appearance of a very tiny kangaroo, it is capable of climbing small trees and bushes up to 1.5 meters in height (4 ft 11 in). Its coarse fur has a grizzled brown color that gradually fades to a buff color under the surface. (4)

9. Populations on the mainland prefer to congregate near thick streamside vegetation, although they may be found in shrubland regions, especially around swamps, and in riparian habitats. (2)

10. Despite the fact that quokkas enjoy a hot environment, they have acclimated to the seasonal changes on Rottnest Island. Quokkas may be found in a broad variety of semi-arid habitats in this region. (5)

11. This tendency indicates that the Quokka is a habitat specialist, with a preference for regions that have been burnt within the past 10 years. (5)

12. Although there has been a low incidence of fires on Bald Island, they are still prevalent on the island. Their success on Bald Island is most likely owing to the fact that they have been able to locate appropriate food sources and that there are no predators. (5)

13. In addition, the home range of quokkas changes with the changing seasons. It is estimated that quokkas have a home range on Rottnest Island ranging in size from 2.5 to 30.8 acres (10,000 to 125,000 square meters) during the rainy season. (2)

Quokka Facts 14-26

14. During the dry season (November to April), the quokkas’ foraging range expands from 5 to 42 acres (20,000 to 170,000 square meters), depending on the species. (2)

15. During the summer months, some animals may go up to 5,900 feet (1,800 metres) in elevation to take use of soaks or fresh water seepages, since there is little standing water accessible on Rottnest.(2)

16. Quokkas are herbivores, meaning that they eat grasses and leaves for food. They demonstrate a liking for places where there has been a recent fire, and the subsequent fresh, succulent plant growth that has resulted. (5)

17. Quokkas on Rottnest Island live mostly on succulents and, to a lesser degree, on Acacia trees, which are known as wattles in Australia. (5)

18. Its ruminant-like digestive system is comparable to that of a sheep: the majority of the 15 morphological types of bacteria present in the stomach area of the quokka are identical to those found in the rumen of sheep. The quokka chews its cud, just as all good ruminants do. (2)

19. They store fat in their tails and when the food is scarce they utilize the fats stored in their tails. They also can go without water for months. (6)

20. The Quokka seems to be able to reproduce all year round on the mainland, while the mating season on Rottnest Island is much shorter  (January to August). (2)

21. A female may be selective in choosing a mate. If she is interested in a male, she will groom him to indicate that she is interested. If she rejects his efforts, he will go on to another female who is more open to his attempts. (2)

22. For the first two breeding seasons, couples may develop a “partner preference.” Females are more likely than males to have one to three lovers, while males are more likely to have one to five relationships. Mating choice and selections are complicated and differ from one group to the next. (2)

23. A female gives birth to a single, small joey. The gestation period is around 26 to 28 days. (7)

24. A female mates again immediately after giving birth, and embryonic diapause begins, during which the new embryo remains dormant or latent for nearly five months, during which her body can determine if the previous joey survived or not. (2)

25. If the joeyis still alive, the embryo disintegrates; if not, it moves into the pouch to compete for survival. (2)

26. The small, developing joey climbs up the mother’s fur and tucks itself into her pouch, clinging onto a nipple in the process. The joey remains in the pouch for about six months. (2)

Quokka Facts 27-39

27. Joeys emerge from their pouches, but they continue to nurse for another 6 to 12 months. They are fully grown between the ages of 12 and 18 months and go outside to make their own home range. (2)

28. When a female is under stress, she may remove a joey from her pouch. The joey squirms on the ground and hisses at this point. This may cause predators to get distracted, allowing the mother to flee with the joey in tow. (8)

29. Despite the fact that quokkas are nocturnal, many of them spend their days resting in Acanthocarpus preissii, a perennial plant that grows in Western Australia’s Kimberley region. They prefer to conceal themselves under the spikes. (8)

30. The quokkas are pretty peaceful and not territorial like kangaroos. They share their food, shelter, habitat without much problem. (4)

31. Yes, they are cute and you may feel like hugging them but you can’t. If you still want to give it a try, get ready to shell USD 150 for that. A study in 1992 found out that 72 people who touched the animal had to visit a hospital in Rottnest Island. All of the 72 individuals made a full recovery. Don’t feed them as well or pay another USD 150. (4)

32. They have sharp teeth and claws. So, while taking selfies maintain some distance because they can bite you. Most of the quokkas victims are children. (4)

33. As they also suffer from muscular dystrophy, quokkas are used in medical research to find a cure for it. (6)

34. In the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the quokka is classified as Vulnerable as its population has fallen by at least 50% in recent decades, and it is now estimated to number between 7,500 and 15,000 adult individuals globally. (2)

35. The most serious risks to quokkas are habitat loss and the introduction of predators like as foxes, cats, and feral pigs into their natural environment. (9)

36. Despite the fact that they are regarded as the happiest mammal on the planet, their “smiles” are mostly due to the shape of their lips, which they open and thrust their tongues out to stay cool! (4)

37. Chokka the Quokka, a chocolate quokk is available from the Margaret River Chocolate Co. Profits are used to generate money for conserving and researching about quokkas. (4)

38. The quokka is known by a variety of names among the Aboriginal Noongar people of southwest Western Australia, including bungeup, ban-gup, and quak-a. (6)

39. They live in the wild for around 10 years. You can’t keep them as pets. (7)


1. Wikipedia

2. San Diego Zoo

3. Nature Australia

4. YHA

5. Australia.museum

6. WWF

7. Perth Zoo

8. NY Times

9. WWF

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