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'Quokka selfies' are the latest big craze Down Under as tourists capitalise on the cheerful marsupial's eager readiness to pose for holiday snaps.

The cat-sized quokka's friendly nature and smiling curl of the mouth saw it acclaimed in 2013 as the happiest animal in the world - and it seems the cute creature is keen to rank as the most photogenic as well.

Hundreds of people have been posting their quokka selfies on Twitter and Instagram after meeting the furry friends. The adorable quokka is a herbivorous marsupial which lives in the south-west part of Western Australia. They can be found on the mainland, but are more common on the smaller islands such as Rottnest Island, off Perth, and Bald Island, off Albany.

There are reckoned to be around 10,000 quokkas on Rottness Island, which is free of predators such as foxes and cats. The species is nonetheless listed as vulnerable - one level below endangered - on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's red list, and it is therefore illegal to handle a quokka. In fact you can be fined A$300 for touching them.

However, the sociable creatures are not afraid of humans and will readily approach visitors - so those hilarious quokka selfies are not so difficult to obtain as the star attraction usually offers an enigmatic smile into the camera while surrounded by its beaming new 'quokkaholic' companions.

Despite its cheerfulness the quokka should still be treated with caution. It has sharp claws and teeth, and the Rottnest Island Infirmary treats dozens of patients - mostly children - for quokka bites every year. Irresistible though, aren't they?!


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Meet the Quokkas: Marsupial selfies catch on Down Under
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