Who can say no to a sweet little quokka who requests for a cuddle?
Last month, Campbell Jones and his girlfriend were out for a bike ride in Rottnest, Australia, when they came upon one of those friendly critters wandering down the highway. Jones, understandably, opted to take a few shots with his GoPro camera – but it appears that the quokka had something else in mind.
“The quokka followed after me as I walked back to my bike,” Jones told the West Australian.
“When I put down the GoPro, it leaped at me as if to say, ‘Come back,'” says the narrator.
It was apparently love at first sight.
While Jones’ up-close meeting is undoubtedly noteworthy, it isn’t entirely unexpected. Because quokkas are curious creatures with few natural predators, they appear to show minimal fear of humans and have even been known to approach strangers out of curiosity.
This, along with their natural cheerful countenance, has become them social media darlings in recent years, spawning the famous hashtag #quokkaselfie. (Avoid handling any wild animals.) Without you in them, your quokka photos will be lot better.)
Despite their rising popularity as Australian symbols, quokkas still face risks. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources has designated the species as “vulnerable” owing to habitat degradation and the introduction of nonnative predators.