Quokkas are marsupial,
and live where it is hot,
they have a jumping habit,
are small, and smile a lot,
those Australian dingoes
will scoff them on the trot –
Oz was chock-a-block-a-quokkas,
but now they’re hard to spot!
© Liz Brownlee 2014
Quokkas look like tiny wallabies, with round, smiling faces. They are macropods, in the same family as kangaroos and wallabies.
They are nocturnal (awake at night) herbivores, eating grasses, seeds and roots which they swallow and regurgitate to chew later, like a cow or other ruminant.
They used to be very common but their numbers have dwindled and now their main population is on a small island offshore of Australia.
Unfortunately, although they are safe there from foxes and dingoes and other predators, because they have no fear of humans and will approach, they are falling ill after being fed human food – their unusual digestive systems cannot cope with this. Steps have been taken to discourage tourists from handling or feeding them.
An interesting fact about quokkas is that they can survive without water – if it is there they will drink it, but they can go months without it by reusing some of their waste products. They can also climb trees.
If you would like to see a picture, here is one, taken by David Burton, on Flikr.
Poem © Liz Brownlee
Image © David Burton