Created | Updated Jan 13, 2012
The quokka is a small rodent-like marsupial that lives only on an island called Rottnest, about 18km off the coast of Western Australia. Quokkas were sighted by Dutch explorers back in the 1600s on the island and were assumed to be rats, and so they called the island 'Rottnest'.
In actual fact, quokkas are about the size of very plump squirrels, but without the bushy tails, tendency to store nuts, or ability to run up trees. They do, however, sit up on their hind legs which conveniently leaves their hands free to beg for food.
Modern day quokkas are quite friendly, mainly because they've figured out that if they are, tourists will feed them, which beats ferreting about in the bush for their own food.
The only downside to being a quokka is that, most unfortunately, their name rhymes with 'soccer' and heinous youths have been known to do the unspeakable.
It's rumoured that there once were colonies of quokkas on the mainland, but they have long since upped and left, due to a lack of tourists prepared to feed them, and the fact that life on Rottnest really is rather easy.