Many of you may not have heard of Quokkas. (WordPress helpfully highlights the word as a typo.) They’re a marsupial found only in Western Australia and primarily on Rottnest Island. A Dutch naval captain gave the island its name because he thought the animals were rats.
The photo below is my first one of a quokka. I had dumped my backpack on a bus stop bench and turned to look for the bus. Turning back, I exclaimed “Jesus Christ!” in the shock of seeing this guy, who had certainly not been there 10 seconds earlier. I quickly snapped a pic with no attempt at artistry, thinking it would dash off at any moment, and was quite pleased with myself for having captured it.
Little did I know the quokka would come closer …
… and closer …
… and then rear up and thrust its face against the lens so quickly that I had no time to refocus.
Here you get a better idea of quokka body shape. Definitely a hopper with those hind legs.
They are curious animals, and those in the settlement on Rottnest Island are very, very accustomed to people.
This one is doing a spot of dress shopping. It paid no attention to the people passing within a foot or two of it, or to the phone cameras thrust in its face, or even to the people who stroked it.
They are so at ease with people, in fact, that many shops have installed gates to keep them out!