There’s cute, and then there’s really cute! We think we may have found the happiest animal in the world: Australia’s quokka.
The quokka was one of the first Australian mammals seen by Europeans. The Dutch mariner Samuel Volckertzoon wrote of sighting “a wild cat” on Rottnest Island in 1658. In 1696, Willem de Vlamingh mistook them for giant rats and named the island “Rotte nest,” which comes from the Dutch word rattennest meaning “rat nest.”
The word quokka is derived from a Nyungar word, which was probably gwaga.