Quokkas are friendly animals found only in Australia on two different islands and are often a popular attraction for tourist selfies. If you’re interested in learning more about these mammals, or would like to go see them yourself, you’ll find some helpful information below to keep in mind.
The best place to see a quokka is in Australia on Rottnest Island and Bald Island. Rottnest Island is the main home of the quokka which is one of the only animals native to it.
Facts About Quokkas
• Quokkas are marsupials meaning they are related to Australia’s famous kangaroos.
• They have virtually no predators.
• Quokkas have their lips turned up slightly which results in them looking as if they are constantly smiling.
• Willem de Vlamingh, a Dutch explorer, was the first to describe this animal to the world and compared them to rats.
• They can live for up to 10 years.
• If they feel threatened, they will bite or shriek.
Where to See Them
Australia is the main home to these adorable furry animals, although you can only see them in two parts of the country: Rottnest Island and Bald Island.
Rottnest Island is a short boat ride away from Perth in the Indian Ocean. The island offers beautiful tropical scenery and is surrounded by coral reefs. In addition to this, Rottnest Island is the main home of the quokka which is one of the only animals native to it. You are bound to see these mammals almost anywhere while here, but some of the best areas to find them are on the island’s settlement and within the woodlands near the Wadjemup Lighthouse.
Bald Island is located on the southern end of Australia near the town of Albany. Known for its unique flora and fauna, Bald Island is also home to the quokka, although their population here isn’t as large as the one on Rottnest Island. There are about 1,000 quokkas living on Bald Island and they have no predator on it, except for the occasional snake.
The Quokka cannot be found in captivity outside of Australia, so your only chance to see these adorable creatures is by visiting their native country!
Best Time of the Day to See Them
Quokkas are nocturnal animals so they enjoy wandering around during the night. However, that isn’t to say that they don’t come out a little earlier.
The best time of day to spot the Quokka is during the early evening around 4-5 pm when they will emerge from their hiding places in search of food. During this time, they can typically be found in grassy areas munching on plants.
Quokkas can also be seen during the morning, although not many tend to venture out during this time.
If you wish to spot a baby Quokka on Rottnest Island, consider visiting during the animal’s breeding season, which lasts from January to August. Peak breeding season occurs between January and March when temperatures are cooler and more favorable for giving birth.
Best Time of the Year to See Quokkas
While you will be able to see quokkas any time during the year, the best time to see one is during the winter when the temperatures start to cool down. However, winter is often rainy, something which these animals don’t like. Because of this, if it rains during your visit, you might not have the best chance of seeing them.
For those who would like to see baby quokkas, known as joeys, you can travel to one of the islands from April to December which is when mother quokkas can be seen carrying their babies around.
Tips for Seeing Quokkas
There are a few tips you should keep in mind when it comes to seeing a quokka.
Despite the quokka being a friendly animal, they can be easily spooked by loud noises or sudden movements. You’ll want to observe the quokka from a distance and wait to see if they decide to come closer to you. If not, you want to leave them alone. If you do end up scaring a quokka or irritate them in any way, they can become violent and could bite you in self-defense.
Look for Grassy or Shaded Areas
If you are looking for a spot that is prone to large amounts of quokkas, you ideally should keep an eye out for grassy areas. These mammals enjoy munching on grass, and where there are large patches of it, you more than likely will find them in it.
Shady areas are also where many quokkas like to hide to escape the hot Australian sun. Because of this, you’ll often find them resting under trees or chewing on berries that fall nearby on the ground.
Search the Trees
Quokkas do climb trees as a way to find food and to have a safe sleeping spot at night. You can look carefully at the trees, especially small ones, to see if you can find one climbing around on the limbs. Binoculars might be helpful when doing so as quokkas can easily blend into them.
Consider the Personality of the Quokka
For those who want to take photos of a quokka or who want to get a little closer to one, it’s good to consider the personality of the animal. By observing the animal for a bit, you’ll be able to tell how they act around other quokkas and humans. This way, you can safely approach one without fear of them attacking you or you frightening them.
Can I Pet a Quokka?
Although you can take photos with the Quokka and interact with them from a distance, it is illegal to pet quokkas. Under the Rottnest Island Authority Act, you can be fined $150 on the spot for petting the Quokka, and potentially prosecuted under the Wildlife Conservation Act of 1950 with fines of up to $10,000.
Additionally, acts of cruelty against the Quokka may result in fines of up to $50,000, with five years of imprisonment under the Animal Welfare Act of 2002.
Can You Feed A Quokka?
It is also illegal to feed the Quokka under the Rottnest Island Authority Act. Similar to petting to Quokka, you can be fined $150 if caught feeding the Quokka and can potentially be prosecuted with fines of up to $10,000.
Furthermore feeeding quokkas not only teaches the quokka to rely on humans for food, but could make them sick as well. Trying to bribe them with their favorite food (like grass, berries, and leaves) is also banned.
You should keep a close eye on any bags or food you bring with you during your travels. Quokkas can be very curious and will sneak into bags in search of food which can ultimately get you into big trouble.
Is it Legal to Own a Quokka as a pet?
Although cute and cuddly in appearance, it is illegal to own a quokka as a pet, and for good reason.
As with any other wild animal, the Quokka would make a very poor pet as they require specific temperatures, food, space, habitat conditions, and more just to live comfortably. Additionally, if a pet Quokka were to get sick or injured, many veterinarians would refuse treatment, even if it were dying.
Due to habitat degradation and predation by foxes and feral cats, the Quokka is currently listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List, meaning that the species faces the threat of extinction unless the state of its population improves.
For this reason, the Quokka is heavily protected by law in its native Australian habitat. As per the Rottnest Island Authority Act of 1987, the Quokka cannot be kept as a pet, and it is illegal to take the animal out of Australia.
Although there is no way to keep a Quokka as a pet, you can adopt a Quokka by purchasing a stuffed toy from the Rottnest Island Visitor Centre. The purchase comes with an adoption certificate, and $1 will go towards Quokka conservation efforts.
Furthermore, you can still interact with Quokkas in the wild and get your highly sought-after Quokka selfie!
How to take a Quokka selfie
First of all, do not approach a Quokka if it is stressed. Despite their docile behavior, Quokkas can be easily spooked by sudden movements and loud noises and can be violent if they are scared or irritated.
Instead, wait at a distance to see if the Quokka will approach you. Do not tempt the Quokka to come near you with food, and never touch the Quokka as this can make both you and the animal sick. If they do not come closer, it is best to respect them and leave them alone. Remember, this is their home that you are visiting!
To take a selfie with the Quokka, use a selfie stick to maintain your distance. Once you have your shot, sit back and enjoy your time with these adorable creatures by observing their way of life.
Quokkas are some of the world’s most curious and friendliest creatures. Found only on two Australian islands, Rottnest Island and Bald Island, the animal can regularly be seen throughout the year and at various times during the day, especially in the winter and early evenings. While you can approach them, you should use caution, although most are more than happy to take photos with you.