Quokka: (Setonix brachyurus)
They belong in the family Macropodidae, one of two kangaroo families.
The Quokka is a marsupial: a small wallaby, about the size of a hare. It is the sole representative of the genus "Setonix". As with other marsupials (such as the kangaroo, wallaby, wallaroo, bettong and potoroo) the females suckle their young in a pouch.
- Physical description:
Quokkas have rounded bodies with a short tail and a hunched posture (like a pint-sized kangaroo). They have small rounded ears and a wide face that is much more flattened than that of other wallabies.
In mainland Australia, densely vegetated areas around swamps or streams are preferred. Though uncommon, they are found at Dwellingup, Jarrahdale, Harvey and Collie, in Stirling Range National Park and along the South Coast to Two Peoples Bay.
They occur in large numbers on Rottnest Island (an Island off the coast of, you guessed it, Australia), however, they inhabit low and scrubby coastal vegetation where water is not always available year round.
- Feeding habits:
The Quokka is a herbivore, capable of stripping most species of small trees and shrubs of their leaves, and bark. They also eat grasses and succulent plants.
Quokkas congregate under dense shrubs for shelter. They are less active during the day.
- Social organization:
Quokkas on Rottnest have a well-developed pecking order. The males defend individual spaces and the older a male is the more authority he has. The males dominate the females and younger quokkas.
Defined groups of 25 to 150 adults occupy shared territories, which they rarely leave.
They breed once a year, and produce a single joey. They give birth after a gestation period of 27 days, in late summer, and the young remain in the pouch until August or September and is then suckled for a further 2 months. It reaches maturity at about 1½ to 2 years of age and live to be about 10 years old.
- !!weirdo-bizarro-trivia facts!!
- The name "Quokka" comes from the name given to the animal by the aborigines living in the Augusta and King George Sound area of the south-west of Western Australia.
- Quokkas were one of the first Australian mammals seen by Europeans.
- 1658 - Samuel Volckertzoon wrote of sighting "a wild cat" on Rottnest Island.
- 1696 - De Vlamingh thought they were a kind of rat and named the island "Rottenest" (Dutch for "rat nest").
- As Rottnest Island is very hot during the summer months, very little water or food is available. To adapt, the Quokka is able to re-use part of their own bodies waste products. Quokkas sleep during the day
- Austrlian College Kids that do spring break on Rottnest Island have been known to get drunk and play a game called "quokka socca"
- The Quokkas face problems caused by decreased nitrogen content of plants in summer (causing anaemia and a high mortality amongst the young) and insufficient water; both of which are necessary for the production of protein. They also face deficiencies in the important trace elements cobalt, and also copper (which is scarce in Rottnest soils). It appears that copper deficiency is a controlling element in how the animals breed.
I forgot to mention in this writeup that the only reason I knew these little fuckers even existed was that I briefly worked for the now defunct quokka.com.
I bailed from there with all speed.