How To Take A Selfie With A Quokka - The Ultimate Guide

How To Take A Selfie With A Quokka - The Ultimate Guide


Getting that perfect quokka selfie can be tricky, but with patience, the right mindset and dirty clothes you’ll be capturing the most beautiful quokka selfies of all time.

The perfect quokka selfie photo = the perfect position of your body, face and camera in relation to the quokka + the right timed click of the camera.

Quokka facts to get you up to speed: Imagine an animal the size of a cat with the body shape of a kangaroo and a face of a smiling bear. That's a Quokka. Known as the happiest animal in the world. Only found on Rottnest Island in Western Australia. With a population of only around 12,000. These unique endangered animals have become a symbol for happiness. What beauties!

What you’ll need for a quokka selfie:

  • A phone
  • Clothes you don’t mind getting dirty
  • Your happy smile
  • (optional) selfie stick
  • (optional) DSLR Camera + Wide angle lens (for advanced users)

This will be the most in depth guide ever made about how to take quokka selfies. How can we be so sure? This guide is from the guy who invited quokka selfies! Allan DIxon (@daxon), so he definitely knows a thing or two about about it.

The only animal selfie video you’ll even have to watch. The perfect guide to taking Quokka Selfies.


Mindset - These Are The Most Important Points

These points make the difference between a mind blowing photo and an average photo. So pay attention!

Patience is the number one skill in taking the quokka selfie. Remember that it could take a long time to get the perfect shot so please know that the perfect quokka selfie is usually a slow art.

Slow and steady movements are key. Lie down on the ground to their level to show them you're not a threat. You'll have dirty clothes, but get quality photos being at their eye level.

Keep sound and noise to a minimum. We would advise not to talk out loud right beside them at the start. imagine how you would feel if a random stranger came up and started yelling in your ear. What would you do? Get outta there quick!

Personal space. Just like you, animals also like personal space. Give the quokka space and slowing introduce your presence. Don’t be all up in his grill the first second.  

Time equals trust. If you spend a lot of time with an animal they’ll learn to trust you because all their experiences have been pleasurable. The same goes for quokkas so maybe just come back at a later time and try again.

Animals are unpredictable so any of the above might not apply depending on the circumstances and the animals current mood.  

the best quokka selfie - allan dixon invited quokka selfies

Before Your Quokka Selfie Try This at home

Before you try take a quokka selfie, give it some practice and take a selfie with your pet. (a kind loving pet, not one that will bite you) 

Follow the steps below and apply them to your pet.

If you don’t have a pet, go find someone else's.

Or get yourself the most cuddle-able quokka pillow to take selfies with.

The Best Location To Meet Them

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

The Best Time To Capture Your Quokka Selfie

Early morning at first light and one to three hours after sunrise. Then again two hours before sunset until dark. 24/7 every day of the year. These are the perfect times for cool weather.

Quokkas are nocturnal meaning they sleep during the day and are awake during the night. 

Wind and rain also make it harder to capture Quokka selfies as quokkas prefer to remain protected from the weather under the bushes.

Step 1 - The Approach

how to approach for a quokka selfie

Your camera app should already be open and ready to click before the encounter begins.

Approach the quokka from a low couching position from the front at a 45 degree. Your low position will make the animals curious as it’s not normal for a human to be so low.

If you try to approach from behind, it could make the quokka nervous. They can feel your presence and might feel slightly threatened. Meaning they hop away or hopefully just turn around to see what’s behind them.

At this point you can start lying down on the ground and slowly crawling towards them. Or crouch walk towards them. Further explained in the video above.

Being low to the ground at their level will make them stand taller in the image. It also makes you seem less of a scary giant to the quokka. Less threatening in this case. But the disadvantage is that you’ll get dirt or quokka poop on your clothes. So wear clothes you do mind getting dirty. Of course the low angle is a suggestion and you can experiment with higher angles or far away. But being face to face with the quokka at its height helps produce and image with both the quokka’s face and your face being in focus at the same time.

Step 2 - The Click

The perfect quokka selfie photo = the perfect position of your body, face and camera in relation to the quokka + the right timed click of the camera.

When you are beside the animal with the camera you’re ready to click.

quokka selfie - allan dixon invited quokka selfies

It can go a few ways. Let’s explain.

  1. The quokka is relaxed with you right beside. You already have the camera up in selfie position with you both in the screen then obviously you should be clicking away photos right now.
  1. Same as above. But your camera is hidden beside your waist and you raise it up. Which then draws the quokkas attention to the device and hopefully looks down the camera lens.
  1. The quokka is like “WTF! Why am I being smothered in my personal space. Time to leave and hop on out of here to safety.” This situation usually means you’re trying to take a selfie with a shy quokka. Move onto a different quokka. 

After capturing some selfies once the quokka hops away or completely loses interest get up and check your photos to see if you need another selfie session.

Hopefully they’ll be amazing

How To Get The Quokka Smile

This happens when the quokka is eating a leaf, shrub, berry or licking its lips. They find food on the ground and sniff around to eat it. A perfect time to click a photo when this happens.

NEVER EVER FEED A QUOKKA HUMAN FOOD BECAUSE THEY WILL GET SICK AND DIE. No chips, burgers, wraps, pizza, biscuits, crackers, nuts, chocolate or anything sugary. 

Let them maintain their normal diet of leaves, stems, berries and shrubs. 

Step 3 - Stop, Exit and Repeat

curious quokka - approaching for a quokka selfie

Imagine having an over clingy partner breathing down your neck. What would you do in this situation? We’re sure you would try everything in your power to get as far away from them as quickly as possible.

Depending on the quokka if they like your presence then stay and take photos, but if not, take a step back, give them space and let them take a break. Try to go in for a selfie again when the time is right. Usually when they are curious again.

Which Camera? - Smartphone VS DSLR

The smartphone is great because it's smaller, portable and doesn't scare the animal when your phone is beside them. The DSLR, for now, can take better quality photos, but it's heavier, less portable and can sometimes scare the animal.

Some animals run away when I take out my DSLR. Maybe the animal is thinking "What is this crazy loud black box you're sticking in my face"


My Gear

I've used Canon DSLRs for 8 years (2010 - 2018) and Sony DSLRs for 3 years (2018-2021). Both produce great results. My iconic quokka selfie was captured on a Canon 5D Mark III. Currently using Sony because of its outstanding video capabilities compared to Canon’s offering. Below is the best setup you should have to capture quokka selfies on a DSLR.

If you love Canon then get this as your DSLR gear

Canon 5D Mark IV camera body.

With a Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8 II lens.

If you love Sony then get this as your DSLR gear

Sony A7Siii camera body.

With a Sony FE 16-35mm f2.8 G Master lens.

Get a fast memory card: I highly recommend a high write speed memory card so you can capture more selfies during the quokka interaction. Gives you an advantage on DLSR burst mode.

SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB - 300MB/s - Class 10 - SDXC UHS-II Memory Card

The technical explanation is the card can save photos faster, decreasing the camera buffer memory size faster to allow you to capture more photos.

note on camera gear links: as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

DSLR Advantages:

The wide angle lens gives a wider field of view. Fitting you, the quokka and surroundings in the photo only at an arm's distance.

DSLR photo resolution and picture quality is amazing. The reason for this comes down to the camera sensor size and specifications. DSLRs will always have a bigger and better sensor compared to smartphones. Read up about camera sensors to deep drive into the technicals of why. Also, these cameras are what wedding photographers use, so they’re a big deal.

DSLR lenses can give you a shallow depth of field. This look is called ‘Bokeh’ and can only be naturally done with DSLRs which gives the image a professional feel.

Camera Settings - Advanced

Continuous Auto-Focus: If your DSLR has this option it could work great with the Quokkas quick movements. As quokkas might go to sniff your lens, the camera will adjust the focus on the quokka in real time.

Burst Mode: That moment of an open mouth quokka smile only lasts for a few seconds. Burst mode help for continuous shooting.

High Shutter Speed (1/400s or higher): Motion blur on the mouth of the quokka is a common problem which can be fixed with a high shutter speed. You will have to compensate by increasing aperture and iso to let more light into the sensor. Aim for sharper smiles.

For more details on the Quokka selfie watch the YouTube video at the top of this page.

Hopefully this will help you with your quokka selfie and animal selfies as a whole. 

Best of luck and Smile on!

Follow more of Allan on his Instagram @daxon

Thank you

-Allan Dixon

P.S. make sure you tag your photos #quokkaselfie and #quokkahub for us to feature you in upcoming aritcles and on our Instagram @quokkahub

Practice With The Quokka Selfie Pillow

 quokka selfie pillow

If you're a million miles away from the quokkas then this is the only way to bring them into your home. Get the happiest quokka pillow on earth! This will bring the whole room to life and get your friends talking.

Take all the selfies you want. Soft, comfy and totally cuddleable.


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You know i went to australia to paint one of these, then shoot one

adolf hitler

You know i went to australia to paint one of these, then shoot one

adolf hitler

Just FYI, you are not allowed to touch, pet or feed them. You get caught doing so it is a $300 fine. I would have a hard time not trying to pet them, such cute little critters!

Bill P

Quokkas are the best animal in the entire world. I am so happy to be able to stumble upon this educational article. We were wondering if you guys sell full sized Quokka body pillows for cuddling at night. Much appreciated.

hooriya /aidan

Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?


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