A quokka is a small nocturnal marsupial weighing 5.5 to 11 pounds, 16 to 35 inches long, and a 9.8 to 12 inch tail. Other characteristics are rounded ears, a stocky build, and short broad heads. Also called the “kangaroo rat” quokkas look like small kangaroos, jumping and carrying their young in marsupial pouches. Although, unlike the kangaroo, quokkas are known to climb trees. Quokkas reside in a very diverse habitat, ranging from semi-arid scrub to cultivated gardens. They inhabit several small islands off the coast of Australia, especially Rottnest Island. Although there is a small mainland population in Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve. Naturally herbivorous quokkas ingest a variety of plants, buds, fruit, and seeds. An interesting story about quokkas is how Rottnest Island was named. When the Europeans first discovered and settled Rottnest and the surrounding islands, they thought that quokkas were giant rats. The name “Rottnest” was derived from the Dutch word “rattennest” which roughly translates to “rat nest”. Today on Rottnest Island, it is illegal for the public to handle quokkas in any way. To enforce this law, there is a $300 infringement fine and prosecution may result in a $2,000 fine. Ultimately, even though quokkas are cute little plant eating kangaroo rats and are normally friendly and curious, it might not be a good idea to try an make a lasting relationship with them. Especially if you live on or visit Rottnest (rat nest) island.
For more Information, watch the ajoining video at http://youtu.be/SJVd03TQ77