RESIDENTS OF ROTTNEST
I am told that Perth, the capital of Western Australia, is a magnificent city. Since I haven’t been to Perth, I can’t confirm that. However, I did uncover some fascinating facts about it. For example, before it was called Perth, it was known as Boorloo. It is also the most isolated capital of the world and considered the sunniest.
Thousands of years ago, you could walk to Rottnest Island, which is west of Perth. Nowadays, you need to take the ferry. Rottnest was so named by the Dutch after they landed on the island and saw large numbers of an unusual animal they believed to be huge rats!
Today we’ll visit Rottnest Island in order to learn about its famous residents, which are NOT huge rats. Meet the Quokka.
Our little friend is a one-of-a-kind marsupial and the only member of the genus Setonix. This small macropod (large-foot) is about the size of a cat; it is a herbivore and is mostly nocturnal. Macropods include kangaroos and wallabies and are distinguished by their large hind feet and smaller front limbs. The strong legs of the Quokka help it to jump more than five feet, and it also has the ability to climb trees, which is unusual for the majority of marsupials.
As we mentioned above, they are found only in Western Australia, where, once, very long ago, they lived in large populations. The introduction of the Dingo over 3500 years ago, and then the introduction of the red fox by Europeans who landed in Australia in the 1870s, decimated the populations and now the Quokka is considered vulnerable by the IUCN. At one point, the Quokka was considered extinct on the mainland, but isolated populations have recently been discovered. Conservation efforts are now ongoing by the Perth Zoo.
The Quokka can grow up to sixteen inches in length and can weigh up to ten pounds. They will eat grasses, leaves and fruits, and can live up to ten years. They are very sociable creatures, and are not territorial, which is evidenced by their overlapping ranges.
I really enjoyed the following video, and wanted to share it with you. You will get a great feel for what it’s like to take a trip to Rottnest and see the island. Along the way we’ll see some terrific Quokka footage.
There is a quokka in my book, The Sword of Demelza. Like most of the animals in my stories, I set him up on his feet and named him Pearce. He is part of a rebel army that storms the Fortress of Demelza. Pearce is a warrior and is very suspicious when he realizes that Devon, a red fox, is appointed one of the leaders of the army. He just doesn’t trust him. You’ll have to get your copy of the book to find out what happens between these two characters. I promise you, you’ll love the Sword of Demelza. You can order a signed copyright on this blog site in the ‘Bookstore,’ or order you book through any one of the major on-line sites, i.e., Barnes and Noble, Amazon or Books-a-Million. Guy Atherfold created all the illustrations in my books, he's so talented. (http://www.guyatherfold.co.uk/#!illustration/c1ppg).
Here’s a picture of Pearce.
If you’d like to read more about this fascinating Aussie marsupial, visit the following sites.
Thanks so much for visiting, and please stop by again. Feel free to leave a comment.
Jeanne E. Rogers, Award Winning Author
The Sword of Demelza and The Gift of Sunderland
Middle-Grade Fantasy Where Endangered Animal Heroes Roam the Pages!