Welcome to Quokka world – A portal that is set to serve all your Quokka queries after you obviously stumbled upon a picture of this little furry, beady-eyed native that squeals ‘I’m the happiest animal on this planet’ with the sweetest selfie expression.
Our little internet-famous friend nestled in the world down under harbors a ton of evolutionary secrets that might shock you or just give you another anecdote from the ‘Instagram vs. Reality’ phenomenon.
This little creature that belongs to the kangaroo and wallaby family has attained the ‘tourist attraction’ badge, as visitors flock to this island to get a selfie with Mr. Quokka. According to a few bikers that visit the island, they just walk up to them without being beckoned.
Guess humans aren’t the only ones falling prey to cameras and selfies.
Let’s admit, those adorable selfies drove you to searches like ‘Can you keep a Quokka as a pet?’, or ‘Are Quokkas dangerous?’ to which we’d say, ‘How about you find out for yourself?’
1. Who discovered the Quokka (Aussie’s furry native)?
A Dutch sea caption named Willem de Vlamingh first discovered the Quokka and regarded the rat-like creature in the size of a cat as a Quokka.
He named the island Rottnest (rat’s nest) – after his discovery and conclusion that quokkas were basically rats on that island.
2. Why is the Quokka the happiest animal?
Quokkas live on an island nestled with all the food they need, a peaceful environment, and visitors continually pampering them with attention, which doesn’t give them any reason to be grumpy.
Anyone would be smiling, but we’re kidding. Their smiley faces are an evolutionary gift. It is a part of their facial makeup. Their willingness to take selfies with their smiley faces have further contributed to this ‘happiest animal on the planet’ label.
3. Can you keep a Quokka as a pet?
Now that you think these smiley fellas are friendly, you simply can’t take them home. They’re endangered for starters and don’t belong to a household.
Furthermore, these tenacious little creatures aren’t exactly friendly, and their big feet are tipped with very sharp claws, not exactly the qualities you’d look for in a pet to keep around your children!
4. Are Quokkas dangerous?
A journalist named Kenneth Cook once tried befriending a quokka by feeding it apple and a piece of cheese. After it fainted, the journalist was convinced that he has poisoned the animal and decided to take him to a nearby vet.
The ferocious survivor sprang back to life and bit Cook on his earlobe while shrieking simultaneously. Guess who landed up in the hospital instead?
5. Do Quokkas throw their babies?
As weird and ruthless as it sounds, the species just like Pandas as the species that don’t mind getting rid of their offspring for the sake of their safety.
If a predator pursues a Quokka, the mother Quokka will throw her baby down, so that it distracts the predator and naturally draws attention to itself. In contrast, the baby’s mama flees for her safety.
You call it sad; we call it Nature’s way of coping. Pandas, on the other hand, don’t intentionally get rid of their offspring, but instead, sit on them and land up killing them accidentally, without caring about any consequences.
6. Do Quokkas have predators?
Foxes were introduced to Australia in the 1930s and had been savoring quokkas ever since. Domestic cats, dogs, predator birds have also been preying on quokkas. The introduction of these predators to Australia has endangered the species.
7. How long does a Quokka live for?
A Quokka is born 27 days after mating, and it is a program to live for 5 to 10 years. Reasons for a Quokka’s death isn’t exactly known, but it’s likely to have happened as part of a year-long cycle of births and deaths driven by resource availability.
8. Do Quokkas drink water?
Quokkas love water. They mostly settle in thick forests, open woodland and areas of scrub that are close to freshwater. They also settled along the edges of swamps and were once found throughout the coastal regions of south-western Australia.
Today, however, they are mainly concentrated on Rottnest island, the neighboring bald island, with a few isolated groups inhabiting the bushlands that surround the city of Perth on the mainland.
9. Can quokkas swim?
Quokkas are born survivors. They do everything they can to fight the odds, and that includes swimming.
Quokkas are brilliant at time management in comparison with Pandas, that spend between ten and sixteen hours each day foraging and eating.
When water is scarce, quokkas snack on water-storing succulents. They don’t just settle, they hustle!
10. Is Quokka a rat?
Quokkas are typically marsupials and belong to the kangaroo family. They could be mistaken for a rat, but they’re the size of a cat.
They hop and bound fast with two legs that can’t move independently of each other and use their tail as a prop as they bring their back legs forward.
They belong to the Macropod Diprotodontids category, which means big-footed two incisor teeth each side.
Rats, on the other hand, have only one Incisor teeth on each side. They neither have big feet nor a pouch or a thick muscular tail used in locomotion. So, the Quokka is biologically very different from a rat, and it also bites.
11. Is Quokka a native Australian animal?
Yes, this adorable creature is native to Australia’s thick vegetation on the west coast at Rottnest Island, Bald island, and eucalyptus forests and riverbanks on the mainland.
They exist in the land down under so that they have access to swamp peppermint and other greens. They store this fat in their tails for lean times, dig tunnels through vegetation for napping and hiding.
Just when you think you know enough about the Quokka, there’s so much more to discover. It’s more interesting than any Hollywood A-lister’s life I tell you.
12. Are quokkas endangered?
There are about 12,000 of quokkas at Rottnest Island and fewer than 14,000 in the wild and are endangered because of predators like foxes, cats, and dingoes.
Habitat destruction and human intervention have further added to the factors responsible for extinction, as declared by the International Union for the conservation of Nature.
They are also at risk of developing muscular dystrophy – a disease in which muscles are damaged and weakened.
– Quokka’s conversation status
Today, the Quokka has been listed by the IUCN on their Red List as an animal that is Vulnerable in its surrounding environment.
The highest populations are today found on Rottnest Island, along with Bald Island, where they are thought to be happily sustained due to the lack of Red Foxes.
There are, however, now concerns over the Rottnest Island population due to increasing development on the island, mainly for recreational purposes.
13. How does a Quokka reproduce?
Quokkas typically tend to breed between January and March, but breeding can take place all year round once the individual is mature enough to mate after it turns a year old.
If you wonder how long female quokkas a pregnant for, it will shock you. They literally reproduce within 27 days!
Quokkas cling to their mother’s pouch and suckle from their mother in the pouch for around six months until they begin to develop.
Once the joey is ripe and healthy, it emerges for the first time out of its mother’s pouch (Unless his mother decides to abandon him) and continues to remain close to its female counterparts.
14. How much does a Quokka weigh?
The Quokka has a rounded and compact body. A male quokka weighs about 4.5 kg while a female weighs 3.5 kg.
Their hind legs and tail are much shorter in comparison to those of many Wallaby species, but allow the Quokka to hop through the thick vegetation and tall grasses with immense speed.
The dense fur of the Quokka is reasonably coarse and usually brown or grey in color, with reddish tinges around the face and neck, and generally lighter in color on the underside.
Along with its rounded body, the Quokka also has small and rounded ears and a rounded snout that is tipped with a black nose, which makes it look like a ratty teddy bear.
Unlike other Wallaby species, the tail of the Quokka has hardly any fur on it at all, and they also don’t need it to balance whilst they are hopping along.
15. What does Quokka mean in Aboriginal? Are quokkas real?
The word Quokka was first recorded in 1855 and came from Noongar, an Aboriginal language. The word simply refers to a marsupial that is classified with furry little animals or large rodents.
Quokkas are as real as horses and bears but have just recently sprung to fame because of social media and the umpteen selfies taken by tourists. We agree it is hard to believe that a smiley little cuddly creature like the Quokka exists for real.
16. What animal family does a quokka belong to?
The Quokka is one of the smallest Wallaby species in the world, and most distinctively differs from other Wallabies with their short and barely-furred tail and small hind legs.
Out of the roughly 50 known Kangaroo and Wallaby (and other marsupials) species on the continent, however, the Quokka is one of three whose ancestry is still fairly hazy today.
The fact that the Quokka browses for food rather than simply grazing makes it quite different from other species, but despite all this, many agree that they are most closely related to the Rock Wallaby.
17. How do Quokkas survive? Socialize?
The Quokka is a very sociable and friendly animal that inhabits south-western Australia in small family groups, which are dominated by the males. Despite this, though, the Quokka is not known to be territorial with up 150 individuals known to have overlapping home ranges.
Although they are known to share these habitats peacefully most of the time, fights between males are not unheard of, particularly on a hot day when they compete for the most sheltered spots.
The Quokka is a nocturnal animal that spends most of the hot day, resting in the shade of the trees and will often return to the same spot every day. At night, the Quokka then begins to browse for food using tunnels through the long grasses to move about unseen.
18. What is a Quokka’s diet like?
Quokka family units are most commonly found in areas close to one another, where there is a decent source of freshwater.
Even though they prefer these moist environments, however, Quokka’s are known to gather most of their moisture from the vegetation that they eat, which means that they can also be found in regions that are quite far from the nearest river or stream.
Despite the apparent differences between the Quokka and other Wallaby species, their small size has enabled them to become masters of the undergrowth.
The Quokka creates tunnels that they use as runways through the dense vegetation, which they are then able to hop extremely fast along when threatened by a predator.
19. Why can’t you feed a Quokka?
You shouldn’t feed a Quokka for the same reason that you shouldn’t feed any wild animal.
Their bodies aren’t used to artificial ingredients, and their diets can be completely disrupted with the introduction of foods and snacks that aren’t native to their environment.
The species are prone to something called lumpy jaw disease that can easily infect their bone cartilage and lead to pain, distress, starvation, and even death!
20. Where can I see a Quokka?
If you don’t live in Australia, you need to book a flight to Western Australia, drive down to Perth and catch a ferry or speedboat to Rottnest island that is made up of white sand beaches and secluded coves.
You can check out this article to know more about Quokka’s habitat.
Quokkas are fun little creatures to take pictures with, but don’t go too far with them. Furthermore, the animal has been listed by the IUCN on the red list because of its vulnerability in the surrounding environment.
They are currently thriving on Rottnest island, far away from predators, and conservationists are doing whatever they can to maintain the species for generations to come.