used with permission by A Taste of Travel


The quokka's mating season is usually between January and February becasue these months are often cooler in temperature. Also, being nocturnal, these animals look forImage used with permission 11/20/2013. Image located at and mate during nighttime. During this time, male quokkas attempt to form a connection with a female quokka in order to reproduce. They have partner preferences that last for at least 2 breeding seasons. While females only have 1-3 partners, males have 1-5 partners and continually approach other females to form new partnerships. Males tend to defend females after they mate but they never defend them at other times.  However, in a few documented studies, quokkas were found to form long-lasting pairs and only found new mates after the death of one. This type of behavior is very uncommon in marsupials like the koala (McLean et al., 2008).

However, quokkas are mostly solitary. Females rarely associate with other females and never initiate interactions with males. The social structure in males is slightly different because there is a clear hierarchy in dominance. The heavier the male is, the more dominant he is. Along with dominance, the size of the male quokka determines its mating success. (McLean et al., 2008). Mating success of males also is determined by four factors related to females. One thing that can affect mating behavior is whether the female’s reproductive rate can be increased if the male assists in caring for the offspring. That is, can she have more babies if the father cares for the young? The second factor is the size of the female’s local range, or area that she resides in. The third factor is the size and stability of the female groups. The fourth and final factor is the density and distribution of females in a certain space (Hayward 2008).

The mating preferences of quokkas are intricate and vary from population to population. For example, polygamy occurs more frequently in quokka populations where males aren’t necessary to care for the offspring, where females live in small-ranged areas, or when females live in stable, small groupings. On the flip side, monogamy occurs when females live in large ranges and are solitary or when females reside in large, unstable groupings (Hayward 2008). Besides these factors, females also choose who they will mate with (to an extent). If a female is not interested in the male, they will run away. Males will move on to another female if that happens. If a female is interested in the male, she will stay put. She shows interest by grooming or pawing at him. However, if she expresses interest in a subordinate male and then a dominant male approaches, the subordinate male will scamper off. A month after mating, females will give birth to one offspring. This offspring remains in the quokka’s pouch for six months after birth. Quokkas have up to 2 offspring per year (McLean et al., 2008).

For more information on quokkas and their reproduction, check out this website!

 Want to know how quokkas interact with other species?  Find out how on the Interactions page!