True Wild Life | Quokka | The Quokka is a small macropod about the size of a domestic cat. Like other marsupials in the macropod family , the Quokka is herbivorous and mainly nocturnal. 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. Quokkas resemble a small wallaby, with small rounded ears, and brown or greyish fur.
In the wild, its roaming is restricted to a very small range in the South-West of Western Australia, with a number of small scattered populations on the mainland, one large population on Rottnest Island and a smaller population on Bald Island near Albany. The islands are free of foxes and cats. On Rottnest, it is common and occupies a variety of habitats ranging from semi-arid scrub to cultivated gardens.
Quokka weighs 2.5 to 5 kg and is 40 to 90 cm long with a 25 to 30 cm tail which is rather short for a macropod. It has a stocky build, rounded ears, and a short, broad head. Although looking rather like a very small, dumpy kangaroo, it can climb small trees and shrubs. Its coarse fur is a grizzled brown colour, fading to buff underneath.
Quokka feeds at night on native grasses and the leaves of shrubs. They need drinking water, but can survive long periods without it. This is helped by the remarkable ability of the Quokka to reuse a portion of their bodies waste products. These animals breed year round, and have a gestation period of 4 months before a new joey is born. The joey lives in its mother's pouch for the first 25 weeks of its life. After leaving the pouch, the joey continues to suckle at its mother's teets for a further 10 weeks.
There were once a lot of Quokkas, but they are now in danger of extinction. They are under threat from development that has destroyed the wetlands where they live and are also threatened by other animals that have been introduced by humans. Quokkas are preyed on by cats and foxes, who are non-native animals in Australia. Their wetland habitat is also disturbed by feral pigs. While efforts are being made to protect them, it is thought that the numbers of Quokka still have not recovered.