The quokka is a small macropod (same family as kangaroos and wallabies)about the size of a domestic cat. It is a marsupial and just like othermarsupials in the macropod family, the quokka is herbivorous and mainlynocturnal. The quokka weighs 2.5-5kgs and is 40-54cm long with a 25-30cmlong tail. It has a stocky build, rounded ears, and a short, broad head.Although looking rather like a very small kangaroo, it can climb small treesand shrubs. Its coarse fur is a grizzled brown colour, fading to buffunderneath.
Mainland populations tend to be clustered around dense streamside vegetationbut can also be found in shrubland and heath areas, particularly aroundswamps. They are restricted to the south west region of Western Australiaand are found on the mainland as well as on Rottnest Island and Bald Island.Their presence on the mainland has declined severely in the twentiethcentury mainly because of feral predators like the fox and feral cats. Quokkas prefer a warm climate but are adapted to the seasonal variations onRottnest Island.
Quokkas eat many types of vegetation, including grasses and leaves. A studyfound that flowering plants of the genus Guichenotia are one of thequokka’s favourite foods
Quokkas are able to breed from about eighteen months of age. After a monthof gestation, females give birth to a baby called a joey. Females can givebirth 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 twomore months. At 1.5 years old, quokkas are old enough to have their ownbabies
The quokka has little fear of humans and it is common for it to approachhumans closely, particularly on Rottnest Island which is seen with the”Quokka selfie” viral internet sensation. It is, however, illegal formembers of the public to handle the animals in any way on Rottnest Island.Their movements resemble a bounding gait interspersed with hopping and theyare able to climb trees to reach a food source. Quokkas are most active atnight feeding alone or in small groups and they can survive for long periodswithout food or water if need be.