Can You Own A Pet Quokka? Is It Legal?

Wondering if you can keep a Quokka as a pet? Well, unfortunately, never. By earning the reputation of ‘World’s Happiest Animal’ by National Geography, Quokka gained immense popularity.

Most people worldwide who have access to social media by any means are now familiar with Quokka. This overnight fame has made individuals curious about whether they can keep Quokkas as pets or not. While a lot of them tried to, every effort possibly failed.

But what’s with not being able to keep the cutest and world’s happiest animal as a pet? Well, we have a detailed explanation of the same. Make sure you read till the end to get the most out of it.

Getting a Pet Quokka: Things You Need to Know

What Exactly is a Quokka? Quokka is a small macropod commonly known as the short-tailed scrub wallaby. It belongs to the genus Setonix, and like any member of the macropod family, Quokka too is nocturnal and herbivorous.

This cute little animal is about the size of a house cat though it can climb about 5 feet on trees and similar non-skidding surfaces.

Quokkas are native to Australia and are commonly found on some smaller islands off the coast of Western Australia, including Bald Island and Rottnest Island.

Quokka has a friendly personality and a beautiful grin (Smile) which the absolute world knows about it. This is one of the major reasons why Quokka selfies are popular all across Australia.

Listed as vulnerable, Quokkas became less in number after the arrival of red fox in the southwest of Western Australia during the early 1930s. Recently, actions have been taken to conserve Quokkas and reduce Red foxes.

Where Does Quokka Evolve from?

Like large rats, Quokka has been around the corner for a long time. They were first observed in 1658 by a European.

Back then, Volkersen wrote about Quokkas stating that they resemble Asian civet cats and have brown hair.

Later, in 1696, he stated that Quokka is a kind of big rat and thus even named the island where Quokkas were found as Rotte nest.

However, the animal got its name ‘Quokka’ from the Aboriginal people living in the King George Sound and Augusta area of southwest Western Australia.

During the early European settlement in West Australia, Quokkas were quite widespread.

However, with the introduction of predators, such as Red foxes, they lost their habitat and their population dramatically decreased.

Quokka Species Taxonomy Chart

NameQuokka
Other NamesShort-tailed scrub wallaby and Joeys
Scientific NamesSetonix brachyurus
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
Class and InfraclassMammalia and Marsupialia
OrderDiprotodontia
Family and SubfamilyMacropodidae (both)
GenusSetonix
SpeciesS. brachyurus
Size40 to 54 cm (16 to 21 in) long with a 25-to-30 cm-long
(9.8-to-12 in) tall and weighs 2.5 to 5.0 kg (5.5 to 11 lb)
LifespanUp to 10 years

Does Quokka Make Good Pets?

Since no individual has ever kept Quokka as a pet, it is difficult to answer whether these cute little creatures will make well for domesticating.

Quokkas, though, love human interaction but not all of them. Also, since Quokkas are nocturnal, keeping them as pets won’t bring out much enthusiasm for many individuals.

For most time of the day, these little creatures will sleep hiding away in a den.

And once they become active during the night, their interaction with humans around will become minimal for obvious reasons.

Is It Legal To Keep Quokka As A Pet?

Quokkas are native to Australia, and it is illegal to domesticate any native animal in this country.

Quokkas are vulnerable and endangered and thus protected by a special Australian law.

According to the Rottnest Island Authority Act, 1987, no individual can touch, pet, hold or interact with Quokkas physically.

The laws are extremely strict, and individuals caught harming Quokkas will be fined with a whopping $300,000 fine under new legislation by the Barnett government.

Besides that, the Biodiversity Conservation Act states that harming Quokkas can lead individuals to a penalty of $50,000 (maximum) and five years in jail.

Are Quokkas legal in the US?

No, possessing, pet, importing, buying, or selling Quokkas in the United States is illegal. If anyone is trading in quokkas as pets, they are doing so illegally.

The Australian laws for protecting Quokkas are so strict that none can even remove these creatures from their native wildlife. Even if any western country allows possessing Quokkas, the strong Australian laws will make it impossible for anyone to do so.

But why it is illegal to own Quokkas when they are friendly and so adorable? Well, Quokkas are vulnerable and endangered, thus, the Australian government’s Rottnest Island Authority Act of 1987 emphasizes allowing the animal to stay in their natural habitat only.

Quokkas are used to the certain climate, living conditions, and plants that are only limited to the Western part of Australia.

By possessing these animals by any means, we are not doing justice to their life. That is why owning Quokkas is illegal even after being the world’s happiest animals.

Can you have Quokkas as pets?

No, anywhere across the world, it is illegal to have Quokkas as pets. Individuals found involved in such activities are subject to fines, and they may even land up in jail.

Not only that, but one can see or observe Quokkas within their natural habitat and in their native land, Australia. Besides that, no one can take Quokkas out of Australia, even away from the western part of Australia. There are even a handful of Zoos across the world that might have Quokkas in their captivity.

The only way one might have Quokkas is if that individual is a wildlife caregiver. However, even after being in such a responsible position, he/she has to release the animal in the wild once fit for the same.

Individuals who are extremely keen on possessing a Quokka should rather make a contribution to their conservation.

Quokka- You have to meet their needs

Quokka Housing Needs

Quokkas live on some rare islands in Western Australia, and it is where their housing needs meet. Most Quokka population is found in the Rottenest Island, Australia, while a few are spread across Bald Island as well.

They survive in shrubland, wetlands (inland), and forests. During the daytime, Quokkas spend time in spiny Acanthocarpus plants for protection.

It is when they spend maximum hours sleeping. During the night, they often travel (not distant) to search for food and escape predators.

Quokka Temperature and Humidity Needs

Quokkas have a remarkable ability to regulate their body temperature.

They can even cope with temperatures as high as 44 degrees Celsius and can still go without drinking water for long.

 The temperature and humidity needs of Quokkas are quite basic and limited to the environment of Western Australia.

However, they are so used to this lifestyle that is it impossible for them to survive anywhere else.

Even while exporting them from one place to another, several Quokkas die due to changes in temperature and humidity (stress level).

Quokka Dietary Needs

Quokkas are herbivores and survive upon vegetation found in southern forests and other regions of Western Australia.

Their diet will include local vegetation such as fruits, vegetables, leaves, plants, etc.

They aren’t picky eaters and enjoy everything from grasses, leaves, succulents, seeds, roots, and shoots. Even if it is necessary, they will feed on drying and dying vegetation.

Though it is quite rare, Quokkas sometimes eat insects, mollusks, or even small lizards.

Quokka Cleaning

Quokkas prefer living in groups, and it is their joint effort to lick and clean one another. Unlike pet and domestic animals, they do not need any external cleaning and grooming.

Common Health Problems with Quokka

The risk of physical illness and diseases is less in Quokkas. However, they would likely suffer from problems like Salmonella.

How Much Does a Quokka Cost?

Since there are no Quokkas on sale, estimating their cost is quite tricky. However, per estimation (only estimate), a Quokka would cost no less than $5000.

Where to buy Quokkas?

Where to find a Quokka breeder? The American Animal law protects quokkas, and no individual can involve in buying or selling them. There is no certified breeder across the world who would deal in any kind of business regarding Quokkas. Even if you find one, the individual is definitely involved in illegal activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Quokkas aggressive?

Quokkas are adorable and friendly though they have a slight fear of humans. If they felt threatened, they might show aggression.

Are quokkas safe to touch?

Even if the animal appears friendly, touching, petting, or holding Quokkas is not allowed. If caught by the authorities, you may have to pay a hefty fine for the task.

Are Quokkas Really Happy?

Finding out about their emotional status is a little tricky, though Quokkas always have a perpetually happy expression on their face.

Do Quokkas throw their babies?

Yes, it is known that Quokkas throw their babies at predators in order to save themselves. Also, since their pouch is really muscular, there are chances that the bub will fall out quite easily.

Where can I see Quokkas?

To see Quokkas, one has to visit Bald Island or Rottnest Island. Or you can also visit the Taronga Zoo, which has about eight Quokkas in captivity. The Taronga Zoo is a part of a national breeding program for the species.

Wrapping up…

With all that is said above, no one can own Quokkas as pets. Until and unless you are a wildlife caregiver, you can’t have these animals in your personal hold. And even after being in such a responsible position, you are only the caregiving responsibility.

However, you can anytime visit the wild to observe Quokkas from afar. Or visit one of the very few Zoos that have Quokkas in captivity.