You may already know this adorable animal or you may have been surprised to see its friendly smile in the image, but did you know that quokka, since 2013, are animals known as the happiest? These Australian animals in recent years are causing a sensation in the networks and, in fact, many people who travel to Australia, their country of origin, manage to see them and take photos with them.
Where are the quokka from and how long do they live
These animals are native to Australia and live in certain areas of the western part of this continent, such as Rottnest Island and Bald Island. In fact, the first island mentioned is named for this species, as the explorer William Dampier first saw the species Setonix brachyurus on this island. He first called it “Rattennest”, which is Dutch for “rat’s nest” as they looked like large rats to him, and later the island’s name was changed to Rottnest. For this reason, this area of Australia has won tourists who come to see them and take a selfie with a quokka to use it on social networks, since our curiosity has become viral and the images quickly reach everyone.
These mammals live for about ten years in the wild and are mainly nocturnal herbivores, meaning that it is also possible to see them somewhat active during the day. These herbivores obtain most of the water they ingest from the leaves they eat and, in addition, they can endure long periods without drinking or eating.
They are marsupials, that is to say that, like kangaroos, they have a pouch or marsupium in which the young grow after being born, they feed by suckling until they are six months old. Considering that quokkas are marsupials , they also have long, powerful legs and tails that help them move faster and with agile leaps. They are the size of a domestic cat , measuring between 40 and 90 centimeters long and weighing between 2.5 and 5 kg. Its coat is brown, with little or nothing on its legs and tail.
How is the character of the Quokka
As quokka are not dangerous at all and have a very curious character , it is easy for them to approach people who meet them. They can be very friendly, since they are really sociable animals, and just as they are curious they are also active and playful. In addition, there is another physical feature, apart from those already mentioned, that gives them an affable and very nice appearance that makes humans curious to know them more; it’s about your smile . Indeed, its narrow muzzle and large cheeks together with its character make it look like an expression of happiness on many occasions. For this reason, since 2013 it has been affirmed that the quokka is the happiest animal in the world.. In fact, there are numerous images in which you can see how they easily interact with people and that show this expression.
Mainly because of this popularity in recent years, as indicated in The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, that is, the red list of endangered species, the Setonix brachyurus species is suffering a situation of vulnerability to extinction and with a trend of its population that continues to be decreasing. Learn more in this other GreenEcology article about the quokka, an almost endangered marsupial.
There are many tourists who are currently looking for them to take photos with them and even feed them to get it, since it is easy for them to approach and accept a variety of plant foods. Actually, this activity on our part is negatively affecting this species, since various problems occur, from changes in diet and, therefore, difficulty in feeding as before, to accidents and captures to sell them completely illegally for private zoos and as pets, since there are those who seek to buy a quokka but it is a mistake because, in addition to taking them out of nature, they are not domesticated and their needs cannot be met in a flat or a house anywhere in the world.
Due to all this, currently in the areas of Australia where the quokka is still found, fines ranging from 300 to 2,000 Australian dollars are imposed for lifting, catching or in any way capturing this vulnerable species. For all these reasons, it is recommended that if you travel to Australia and see one or more quokkas, it is best not to feed or touch them or take them , if you want to take photos with them it will have to be without actually picking them up or giving them our food. The exception to this is if it is an injured or at-risk animal, since then they can be taken, moved or attended, and there is also an obligation to contact the police in charge of animal protection in the area.