Meet Australia's happiest animal
It's easy to see why the Quokka has been dubbed Australia's happiest animal - that gorgeous little smile!
These heart melting creatures mainly reside on Rottnest Island, offshore from Perth, Western Australia. In fact, the island was named ‘t Eylandt Rottenest (Rat’s Nest Island) in 1696 by Dutch captain Willem de Vlanmigh, who mistook the quokkas for giant rats! They are however less like rats and more like their distant cousins, the Kangaroo - hopping around their island home, carrying joeys in their stomach pouch.
Amazingly, the Quokka can survive for long periods of time without food and water. When food supplies are low they rely on fat stored within their tails and they rarely drink from a direct water source - extracting most of the water they need from the plants they eat. Eating is an interesting pastime as the Quokka swallows food whole, regurgitates it and then eats it again to absorb as many nutrients as possible.
For a nocturnal marsupial, Quokka's are generally quite active during the day and are often out and about annoying the Rottnest Island locals and drifting in and out of restaurants in search of food. They are however very gentle and friendly creatures and will even follow you around the island if they take a liking to you.