Quokkas are the happiest animals on the planet - and here's the proof
It's a fact that animals who look happy tend to be the most popular. Think about it: how many people do you know who have a pet blobfish, or who dotes upon slugs?
The answer is that you probably don't know any, because those creatures tend to be pretty inscrutable. Now a nice dog, on the other hand, will always have fans because it's a cheerful-looking animal who can melt our hearts.
This is probably why the internet seems to have fallen in love with quokkas lately. You might not have heard of them before now, but quokkas are a species of adorable little marsupials with a unique trait: they always look like they're smiling.
Quokkas are nocturnal animals who hail from Southeast Australia. The smallest members of the macropod family, which also includes kangaroos and wallabies, these small furry critters spend their time digging intricate tunnels through the bushland, rather like Meerkats, and are the only land mammal on Rottnest Island.
Take a look at this adorable video of a happy little Quokka:
According to Rove.me, the animals were first discovered back in 1696 by the Dutch sea captain Willem de Vlamingh, who believed them to be gigantic rats and gave their home its name "ratte nest" (rat’s nest). De Vlamingh sailed away, imagining that the island was infested with them. However, nowadays tourists find the quokkas absolutely delightful, and Instagram is full of photos and videos of them.
Quokkas have little fear of humans and often approach visitors to their island home. Their genial appearance and playful nature has given them a reputation as the so-called ''Happiest Animal on Earth'', and after looking at these pics, we have to agree. Be warned however, it is actually illegal to touch them, and they can often steal your food.
Sadly, populations of quokka have been in decline lately, but hopefully, the newfound attention they've garnered on social media means that this remarkable species can be saved from extinction.