Photos of cute ‘happiest animal in the world,’ the quokka, go viral

Nadine Kalinauskas
Good News

Earlier this week, redditor doahkym uploaded photos of a quokka with the caption: "The happiest animal in the world."

The pics of the adorable always-smiling marsupial quickly went viral.

The Perth Zoo reports that the friendly herbivores are a vulnerable species found in the southwest Australian mainland. Their numbers drastically reduced after dingos and foxes arrived on the continent.

"Quokkas are very unusual for a number of reasons. They are able to survive in an environment virtually devoid of fresh water and they can climb trees," the zoo adds.

Despite dwindling numbers, the Department of Environment and Conservation is optimistic about the species' recovery.

"The Quokka occurs in a number of protected areas and is listed as threatened species under Australian law. Research into subpopulation size and structure, diet, and habitat use has been completed for the northern Jarrah forest. Adaptive management of northern populations is underway. Rapid survey of southern forest subpopulations has been conducted, but further work is needed to define subpopulation size and movements between habitat areas. Feral pig surveys has been conducted in many locations, but additional feral pig control is required. Fox control programs should be maintained," reports the IUCN Red List.

TopekaNews' Tatum Fox explains the happy expression on the animal that looks like a rodent, is the size of a cat, and hops like a bunny:

"Cute and furry, the animals often have a 'smiling' expression due to their buccal structure and wide eyes."

Neatorama notes: "Not every animal in Australia is out to kill you."