Quokka

SPECIES: Setonix brachyurus

Often called “the happiest animal in the world”, Quokkas are a small marsupial related to Kangaroos. They stand at 40-54cm high, with a 24-31cm tail and weighing 2.7-4.2kg. Quokkas have grey-brown fur and small, rounded ears. Their body is quite rounded, and their hind legs are fairly short. In captivity, Quokkas have a lifespan of 5-10years.

Diet

Quokkas are nocturnal herbivores, feeding on fresh, young grasses, leaves and succulents, as well as plant roots, from which they can also acquire water. They have also been known to eat snails on Rottnest Island.

Social Organisation and Reproduction

Quokkas live in family groups with a dominant male. Males will occasionally fight over sheltered territories; however groups of up to 150 individuals, consisting of several family groups, have been observed near water sources. In the wild, females generally will not breed between August-January; however in captivity they have been known to breed all year round. After a gestation period of 26-28 days, one joey will be born and make its way to the pouch. One day after giving birth, the female will breed again as a security measure for if the first joey dies. After 175-195 days of development in the pouch, the joey will leave the pouch and remain with the family group. Females reach sexual maturity at around 252 days old, and males at around 389 days old.

Other Quokka Facts

  • Adults can climb up to 1.5m to reach food
  • Like Kangaroos, Quokkas have a special biological mechanism called “embryonic diapause”. A fertilised egg is held in the womb and its development is paused. If the first joey a female gives birth to dies in its first 5 months of life, the fertilised egg will develop and grow into a second joey, ensuring the survival of the female’s genes. If the first joey survives, the fertilised egg will be absorbed back into the body; however if conditions are favourable, the fertilised egg may develop, resulting in 2 healthy joeys.

Why are they endangered?

  • Predation by feral cats and foxes
  • Fire regimes
  • Habitat and food competition and destruction by feral pigs
ANIMAL FACTS

Quokka

GROUP NAME

Shakka

Native To

SIZE

Quokkas stand at 40-54cm high, with a 24-31cm tail and weighing 2.7-4.2kg

BABY NAME

Joey

Habitat

Quokkas are found in south-west Western Australia, as well as Rottnest Island and Bald Island. They inhabit a variety of environments, depending on what region they live in. They prefer thickets and scrub habitat close to water, as well as forests. Quokkas use vegetation for coverage whilst feeding in the night. They are capable of surviving hard, arid environments with very low rainfall and very little vegetation.

Did You Know?

Did you know?

Quokkas are part of the Macropodidae family - so they are also related to kangaroos and wallabies! They move around with the 'large' feet and have a pouch for their young just like their kangaroo 'cousins'!

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