Quokka Poop: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know

Cutest Animals: Quokka
© Grakhantsev Nikolai/Shutterstock.com

Written by Jeremiah Wright

Published: September 3, 2022

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Similar to wallaroos and kangaroos, quokkas are small marsupials. The world’s happiest animal, the quokka, is a favorite for many people! Its broad smile is known worldwide, and humans often hope to spot a quokka to take a selfie with it. Unfortunately, this species is now vulnerable. While once abundant, its population is now declining.

Would you believe us if we told you that their poop had played a crucial role in getting quokkas’ tracks, locating their habitats, and establishing whether they have disappeared from certain areas? Several studies on the topic used quokka feces as the primary means of outlining quokka’s homes.

Keep on reading to learn everything about these adorable animals – how they look, what they eat, what their poop looks like, and how to distinguish them from other marsupials!

What are quokkas?

Quokkas are sociable, friendly animals living in family groups.

©fvanrenterghem / Flickr – Original

Quokkas are a small wallaby species. They are scientifically called Setonix brachyurus.

Quokkas have round, compact bodies, short legs and tails, dense brown or gray fur, small and rounded ears, and a rounded snout. They are known for the smile they wear on their face. Many people have taken selfies with these adorable creatures.

These marsupials are sociable, friendly animals living in family groups. They look for food during the night and are known for their specific runways through swamps.

Quokkas were once abundant in Australia. However, they are now considered vulnerable and live only in three remote regions. Most of them are on Rottnest Island and Bald Island. They prefer living in thick forests or open woodlands close to water.

What do quokkas eat?

Cutest Animals: Quokka

Quokkas primarily feed on grass, leaves, and fruits.

©Grakhantsev Nikolai/Shutterstock.com

Quokkas are herbivorous animals. They primarily feed on grass, leaves, and fruits. They can survive up to a month without drinking water. They swallow food without chewing it.

How to distinguish quokka poop from other marsupials’ poop

It’s extremely difficult to distinguish quokka poop from other marsupials’ poop. A study shows that the most reliable way is to be guided by where each marsupial population lives.

Several scientists conducted a study to establish an estimated quokka population density by following their tracks through the poop they leave behind. They even state “We believe faecal pellets of adult male quokkas are indistinguishable from those of sympatric wallabies and subadult kangaroos.”

However, the researchers were sure of the fecal matter they used in their studies because they didn’t guide themselves by the scat form, size, or texture. They discovered quokka “makes characteristic ‘runways’ (~ 15 cm x 20 cm) through the densely vegetated swamps.” They concluded that other marsupial species don’t have the same behavior. Moreover, they studied the distribution of other wallabies and bettongs to avoid mistaking quokka scat for the scat of the two other animals.

What does quokka poop look like?

Quokkas poop in small, round droppings.

©iStock.com/King Ropes Access

If we were to guide ourselves by the study mentioned above, we’d say quokkas poop in small, round droppings. They can be greenish or black.

Since there’s little online evidence regarding quokka poop, and since the study shows it’s similar to kangaroo and other wallaby feces, all we’ve got left is to assume quokka poop looks similar to these two other marsupials’ scats.

Are quokkas going extinct?

Quokkas are listed in the IUCN Red List as “vulnerable.” Their population is steadily declining. Here are the main reasons:

  • Becoming prey to dogs, cats, and foxes;
  • Human cruelty;
  • The risk of developing muscular dystrophy.

Quokka vs. wombat

Quokkas and wombats look similar in photos; however, they are very different. First of all, wombats are much larger and heavier than quokkas! While a quokka’s average weight is 3.3–10 pounds, a wombat’s weight is 44–77 pounds, so it’s almost as big as a large dog!

Key DifferencesQuokkaWombat
Top speed20 mph25 mph
Lifespan5–10 years20–26 years
Weight3.3–10 pounds44–77 pounds
EarsSmall, rounded earsTriangular ears
Lifestyle and behaviorSociable, friendlySolitary, shy, aggressive
PoopSmall, roundCubed poop

Quokka vs. kangaroo

While quokkas and kangaroos are both members of the Macropodidae family, they are very different from each other. Just like with wombats, kangaroos are much bigger than quokkas! Kangaroos are also much faster than quokkas! Here are some differences that can help tell them apart:

Key DifferencesQuokkaKangaroo
Top speed20 mph35 mph
Lifespan5–10 years4-10 years
Weight3.3–10 pounds40-200 pounds
HabitatDense vegetation close to the waterDry forests, deserts, grasslands

In terms of poop, quokka scat, and kangaroo scat look similar.

Quokka vs. wallaroo

Quokkas and wallaroos are both marsupials. Compared to quokkas, wallaroos are larger but not as large as kangaroos. They stand somewhere between wallabies and kangaroos. On the other hand, their lifespan is much longer than a quokka’s lifespan. Here are some differences between the two:

Key DifferencesQuokkaWallaroo
Top speed20 mph~ 31 mph
Lifespan5–10 years22–24 years
Weight3.3–10 pounds~ 30–50 pounds
BehaviorSociable, friendlySolitary, nocturnal

Incredible quokka facts

  • The quokka was once called “Gwanga,” a word in the language of the Nyungar population. The term “quokka” was spread by the early European settlers because they heard “gwanga” as “quokka.”
  • Quokkas eat their food, vomit it, and eat it again. Why? Because they absorb the nutrients from the “vomited” food easier and more effectively than from the actual grass and leaves. 
  • Just like other marsupials, quokkas carry their babies in pouches.
  • Quokkas don’t have a good parental instinct. If threatened, mother quokkas would rather sacrifice their babies than die themselves.
  • Quokkas are excellent climbers. They can climb up to 4–6 feet without breaking a sweat!
  • Quokkas are often considered “the happiest animals on Earth” due to the broad smile on their faces.

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About the Author

I hold seven years of professional experience in the content world, focusing on nature, and wildlife. Asides from writing, I enjoy surfing the internet and listening to music.

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