Quokka – Characteristics, habitat and conservation status
Look how the quokka smiles! You’ve probably already made this comment when viewing photos and videos of ‘smiling’ quokkas, one of the most viral posts in recent years. But is there really happiness behind these selfies with these wild animals?
Keep reading this Better-Pets.net article to take a closer look at one of Australia’s 10 rarest animals, the Quokka- Characteristics, habitat and conservation status.
taxonomic classification of quokka
To learn more about curious quokkas, it’s helpful to start with their taxonomic classification. This allows us to place them among the different mammalian subclasses since all anatomical characteristics will depend on their evolution and taxonomic classification:
- Kingdom: animals
- Edge: chordates
- Subphylum: vertebrates
- Classroom : mammals
- Subclass: thirds
- Infraclass: marsupiais
- Order: Cyprothodontics
- Family: macropods
- Genre: setonix
- Species: s etonix brachyurus
Now that we’ve taxonomically localized quokka, the only species in the Setonix genus. Let’s see what its main features are in the next sections.
As marsupials, quokka chicks are born prematurely and complete their development in the marsupial or marsupial pouch, obtaining the maternal nourishment they need to continue growing through the mammary glands they adhere to for sucking.
During their displacement, the quokka they tend to jump while running, like the rest of the macropodid animals. On the other hand, quokkas are characterized by having only two incisor teeth in their jaws, therefore belonging to the order of Diprotodons, as we saw in their taxonomic classification.
Why is the quokka the happiest animal in the world?
This curious fact is due to the fact that the quokka is actually very photogenic, appearing to smile in the photos. A fact that is due, without a doubt, to what is considered in ethology, attributing human qualities to animals.
To see quokkas in their natural habitat, we must travel to Western Australia, specifically to those commonly known as ‘the quokka islands’, the island of Rottnest and the island of Calvo.
There, it will be possible to find the quokka in eucalyptus forests ( Eucalyptus marginata ( Taxandria linearifolia ).
Quokka is land animals that used to be social, tending to approach in a curious way the humans they encounter in their natural habitat.
But in addition to being social with humans, they are also social with other individuals of their species. Prefer to live in clusters.
On the other hand, quokkas tend to remain year-round in their natural island habitats, without having to move after migrations to find better weather conditions.
When it comes to food, the Quokka prefer to continue their nocturnal habits. They follow a herbivorous diet like the rest of marsupials, severely chewing the leaves, grasses, forest branches, shrubs and swamps they inhabit.
They take advantage of plant nutrients that they cannot digest by slowing down their metabolism, betting on the consumption of a smaller amount of food that they can assimilate without problems.
Quokka are marsupial animals and therefore viviparous after a sexual type reproduction. However, they have some exceptions within viviparity, as they do not have a placenta, causing embryos to be born with early development.
The solution for these premature births is based on the use of a marsupium or marsupial bag. Once born, puppies crawl through the pouch until they reach the mammary glands or nipples, which are fixed to obtain by suctioning the food they need to continue growing, completing their developments in the marsupial pouch until they are ready to fend for themselves.
Quokka conservation status
The current population of quokka is declining, with species found to be in a vulnerable conservation status (VU) , according to the IUCN Red List. The population has adult individuals ranging from 7,500 to 15,000 individuals. This population is quite fragmented, mainly due to the fact that they live on islands.
Numerous conservation studies of the quokka point to the importance of identifying potential refuges for this vulnerable species. In other words, areas where studies predict that the species may persist due to environmental conditions and risks, defining management strategies that allow protecting these areas from threatening processes.
These processes that threaten the survival of the quokka include displacements they suffer from their natural habitats, influenced by the use of biological resources by neighbouring human populations through activities such as logging and logging. It also chases populations of foxes, one of its main predators, which prevent individual quokka rates from increasing despite their high fecundity.
Due to the great popularity of photographs and selfies that people have taken with the quokka in recent years, these animals are still stressed. They alter your natural feeding, resting, and mating cycles. As if that were not enough, the quokka faces another major problem, the risks arising from climate change, which entails severe changes in the climate, such as droughts and fires, which significantly alter the natural habitat of the quokka.
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