The Quokka (Setonix brachyurus), the only member of the genus Setonix, is a small macropod about the size of a large domestic cat. Like other marsupials in the macropod family (such as the kangaroos and wallabies), the Quokka is herbivorous and mainly nocturnal.
The Quokka's movements are similar to a kangaroo, using mixture of small and large hops.
The Quokka has no fear of humans and it is common for it to hop up close enough to humans, particularly on Rottnest Island. It is, however, illegal for members of the public on Rottnest Island to handle the animals in any way. An infringement notice carrying a A$100 fine can be issued by the Rottnest Island Authority for such behaviour. However, prosecution of the offence can result in a fine of up to $1000. Such fines are implemented in the rare cases that Quokkas are abused or killed by visitors to Rottnest.
Although numerous on the small offshore islands, it has a very restricted range and is classified as vulnerable. On the mainland, where it is threatened by introduced predatory species such as foxes, it requires dense ground cover for refuge. This refuge and habitat has been taken away from the Quokka by agricultural development, and this has contributed to the decline of the Quokka as well. Introduced cats and dogs, as well as dingoes, have contributed to the problem, as has the clearing and burning of the remaining swamplands.
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