Wapuu Dashboard Pet is a new plugin from Kayleigh Thorpe and the team at WordPress hosting company 34SP.com. It is essentially a WordPress Tamagotchi, or digital pet, that resides in your dashboard and monitors the health of the site.

The plugin checks to make sure WordPress has been updated (plugins, themes, and core) and backups have run. Wapuu’s appearance will change based on these factors. Thorpe used her illustration skills to create the images, which indicate if wapuu is feeling dead, happy, sad, sick, or very sick. The threshold for a dead wapuu is 10+ updates. The example below is a “very sick” wapuu on a site with five or more updates pending.

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After updating, the happy and healthy wapuu is displayed, as shown below.

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The Wapuu Dashboard Pet is featured at the bottom of every page in the admin. It also comes with an option to enable weekly email notifications that will only send if wapuu is feeling sick (has one or more updates available). This feature can help site administrators who don’t log into their dashboards very often, resulting in more updated and secure WordPress sites.

The plugin is currently very effective in its simplicity but there are a lot of interesting features that its authors could add. It could be set up to check for PHP and MySQL versions, similar to what the Health Check plugin offers. It would also be useful if wapuu could detect whether or not any of the necessary updates are security-related, which might inspire administrators to act faster on the emails. There may be other useful applications for forks of this plugin, such as a wapuu that helps bloggers stay on track with their monthly posting goals.

When wapuu is feeling unwell, the image displayed is a pathetic-looking creature that appears to have been left out in the rain. Wapuu-conscious site admins will not be able to look at that image in the dashboard without feeling the need to improve wapuu’s condition. These visual indicators of site health may be just the type of prompt necessary for admins who have become desensitized to WordPress’ many update notifications.