Have you ever heard about the world’s happiest animal? Sometimes you may. Quokka is known as the happiest animal on Earth because of its unusual mouth appears like smiling. A man who visited Rottnest Island took a selfie with Quokka and it became very popular and went viral. In this article, I’m going to bring you some interesting things about these cute little creatures. Do you wish to meet Quokka and have a selfie with one of them? Then these facts will be very useful to you!

# Where can I find Quokkas?

            Quokkas can be only found in Southwestern Australia. If you ever travel to Australia, don’t forget to book your tickets to Rottnest Island! Until 1930, quokkas were common to find in many coastal areas of the mainland of Southwestern Australia. But after introducing red fox, it became a threat to quokkas and their population rapidly decreased in the mainland. And also the development and expansion of agriculture in the mainland also caused the decrease of the quokka population. According to a study done by John Woinarski in 2014, quokkas have lost 50% of their natural habitats during the past 200 years on the mainland.

            But fortunately, red foxes did not arrive on Rottnest Island. So there are no harmful predators for quokkas in there. And also there are many restrictions to development and even driving in Rottnest Island to protect these quokkas. Not only quokkas but also all the other animals in Rottnest Island are protected under Rottnest Island Authority Act in 1987. Because of these reasons, Rottnest Island has a plentiful quokka population of around 10,000 to 12,000.

            There is something you should definitely keep in your mind. When you meet a quokka take selfies with them, but do not touch them ever! It will sick you as well as the quokka. And also it is prohibited by Rottnest Island Authority and you’ll have to bear a A$300 fine for that!

# How can I easily identify a Quokka?

            As I mentioned above you can only see these adorable creatures in Mainland and Rottnest Island in Southwestern Australia. Even though the mainland has a limited population, Rottnest Island has a huge population of quokkas. So if you go to Rottnest Island, you have nothing to worry about because quokkas are everywhere! But if you want to find the quokkas in the mainland, you must know these things about their appearance.

            Simply quokka is the smallest wallaby that can be found in Australia.  It has a body that lengths from 40-54 centimeters and usually weighs around 2.5-5 kilos. They have a 25-30 cm long tail and strong developed hind legs. They use these legs to bound and hop along the ground like kangaroos and to look around. But quokkas do not use their tail as a tripod like kangaroos do. They also have little front paws which they use to search and pick up foods.

Let me give you a simple tip: ‘Do not search for quokkas only on the ground’. It is because these little quokkas can climb up trees about 1.5 meters (5 feet) tall. So when you are looking for quokkas don’t forget to search on the trees around you!

# How this ‘Rottnest Island’ got its name?

            It’s a fun fact and although worth knowing! Quokkas in Rottnest Island was firstly discovered by Dutch explorers. The first written description about these little quokkas was done by Samuel Volckertzoon, a Dutch mariner in 1658. He described this as he saw a ‘wild cat’ on Rottnest Island. In 1696, a Dutch captain called Willem de Vlamingh saw these quokkas and mistook them as giant rats! Then he named the entire island after those giant rats as ‘t Eylandt ‘t Rottenest. It means ‘The Rat’s Nest Island’ in Dutch. Later it is modified to the Rottnest Island!

# What do they eat?

            When considering their diet, quokkas are herbivores animals. They eat a variety of shrubs and grasses. And also they eat seeds, roots, and succulents as well. Do you like to know a special adaptation of these creatures? When food is scarce, quokkas can use pre-stored fat in their tails to get energy!

 If you travel to Rottnest Island you’ll see that there is a short supply of fresh water in there. But this is not a problem for Quokkas. They are adapted to fulfill their water requirements through grasses and shrubs and they can last up to about a month without having water!

When traveling on Rottnest Island you can see quokkas everywhere. When you eat or drink something they’ll come near you. But, DO NOT GIVE ANY FOOD OR DRINK TO QUOKKAS EVER!  It is strictly prohibited and travelers are informed not to give any human food or drink to these adorable creatures. Even drinking water! According to studies human foods and beverages are very bad for their health.

# What kind of habitats do they have?

            Quokkas like to inhabit wetlands, shrubland, and forest. They select a cool shady protected area to spend the daytime. As they are nocturnal animals they are mostly active at night. They forage expeditions at night to feed. At the end of each night, they return to their familiar shelter.

# How about their reproduction?

            Quokkas have an average life span of 10 years. After one and a half or two years, quokkas mothers start to have babies. A mother gives birth to a single joey about 27 days after mating. After giving birth, tiny joey tucks into his mother’s pouch and stays there for about 6 months. Do you know what happens if the joey doesn’t survive? The quokka mother can give birth to another joey shortly after the first birth. She can have others in her womb as a backup!

            There is a harsh behavior of these little quokkas. If a predator is chasing a mother, she expels her joey from the pouch and leaves him on the ground. Then the joey starts to squeal and the predator is attracted by it. It gives time for the mother to escape! 

Have you ever heard about the world’s happiest animal? Sometimes you may. Quokka is known as the happiest animal on Earth because of its unusual mouth appears like smiling. A man who visited Rottnest Island took a selfie with Quokka and it became very popular and went viral. In this article, I’m going to bring you some interesting things about these cute little creatures. Do you wish to meet Quokka and have a selfie with one of them? Then these facts will be very useful to you!

I'm Dilshan an undergraduate in Lincoln University College Malaysia. As a hobby I observe various categories I like and summarize what I have learnt. Here comes my articles as a freelancer! Hope you'll grab some knowledge reading my articles!!

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