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Meet the Happiest Creature on Earth!

This happy little guy is called a quokka. The quokka  is a small marsupial about the size of a domestic cat. Like other marsupials in the macropod family (such as the kangaroos and wallabies), the quokka is herbivorous and mainly nocturnal. 

The quokka is very friendly and often approaches humans, maybe because they are too happy looking to be abused, they see everyone as friends...

Quokka photos
The quokka can be found on some smaller islands off the coast of Western Australia, in particular on Rottnest Island just off Perth and Bald Island near Albany. A small mainland colony exists in the protected area of Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, where they co-exist with Gilbert's potoroo.

Quokka photos
The quokka was one of the first Australian mammals seen by Europeans. The Dutch mariner Samuel Volckertzoon wrote of sighting "a wild cat" on Rottnest Island in 1658. In 1696, Willem de Vlamingh mistook them for giant rats and named the island "Rotte nest", which comes from the Dutch words rattennest meaning "rat nest".

Quokka photos
The quokka weighs 2.5 to 5 kilograms (5.5 to 11 lb) and is 40 to 90 centimeters (16 to 35 in) long with a 25 to 30 centimetres (9.8 to 12 in)-long tail, which is fairly short for a macropod.

Quokka photos
It has a stocky build, rounded ears, and a short, broad head. Although looking rather like a very small, dumpy kangaroo, it can climb small trees and shrubs. Its coarse fur is a grizzled brown color, fading to buff underneath.

Quokka photos
The quokka has no fear of humans and it is common for it to approach them closely, particularly on Rottnest Island.

Quokka photos
It is, however, illegal for members of the public on Rottnest Island to handle the animals in any way. An infringement notice carrying a A$300 fine can be issued by the Rottnest Island Authority for such behaviour. In addition, prosecution of the offense can result in a fine of up to $2,000.

Quokka photos
In the wild, its roaming is restricted to a very small range in the South-West of Western Australia, with a number of small scattered populations on the mainland, one large population on Rottnest Island and a smaller population on Bald Island near Albany. The islands are free of foxes and cats. On Rottnest, quokkas are common and occupy a variety of habitats ranging from semi-arid scrub to cultivated gardens.

Quokka photos
Although numerous on the small offshore islands, it has a very restricted range and is classified as vulnerable.On the mainland, where it is threatened by most introduced predatory species such as foxes, it requires dense ground cover for refuge. Clearfell logging and agricultural development has reduced this habitat, thus contributing to the decline of the species. The introduction of cats and dogs, as well as dingoes, has added to the problem, as has the clearing and burning of the remaining (swamp) lands.

Quokka photos
Have a good day everyone!

Submitted by: Jackie D.

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