Meerkats are actually a type of mongoose but, unlike their loner brethren, they are highly social. Here the Belfast Zoo's newest playful meerkat pups emerge from the den and explore their surroundings, as their relatives keep a characteristic meerkat lookout.
Three baby meerkats
10 August 2009
The baby boom at the zoo continues with three meerkat babies. The new additions join 3 adult females and 2 adult male meerkats. The babies can be best seen in the morning, and take the total number of meerkats in the zoo to 8.
Meerkats are a type of mongoose. Unlike other mongooses which are solitary and nocturnal, meerkats live in large groups and come out during the day. They are often seen standing up on their hind legs, propped up by their tails, looking out for birds. Meerkats are found in the savannahs and open plains of southern Africa. They can measure up to 35 centimetres (cm) and their tails can reach 25cm. They weigh up to 730 grams.
Belfast zoo curator Alyn Cairns is delighted with the new arrivals, saying “The size and cute behaviour of the new babies will no doubt make them popular with our visitors. It is always great to see the arrival of new animals in the zoo."