Q is for Quokka
Quokka by David Burton on Flikr.
I do love all animals, but there is something about this little marsupial that makes me smile and want to scoop it up and cuddle it silly.
It is a small macropod, the same family as kangaroos and wallabies, and it jumps.
It is about the size of a domestic cat and it is nocturnal and herbivorous – quokkas have no fear of tourists and approach them to exploit the easy food that comes with them. Which is not doing it any good. Fines have been set in place to stop tourists handling and feeding them.
Quokkas eat grasses, seeds and roots and they swallow them like a ruminant and regurgitate to chew the cud later – so the sorts of food given by humans will upset their highly specialised digestion.
For instance, quokkas can survive without water – if it is there they drink it, but can go months without a drink by reusing some of their waste products.
Another unusual thing about them is that they can climb trees up to 1.5 m.
Hard to resist. Photo by Blacktulip on Flikr.
Introduced species such as cats, dogs and foxes, and dingoes have decimated the quokka on the mainland, and they now live mostly on two offshore islands that are free of predators.
They are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Images © photographers as specified above.
Poem © Liz Brownlee
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