World Cup fever has spread to Bristol Zoo Gardens where the meerkats have spent the week playing with miniature soccer balls. Meerkats are inquisitive animals and footballs provide the perfect enrichment toy to play with. Keepers at Bristol Zoo are keen to show their support for the England team and are hoping that a win today will be ‘simples’.
Overseer of mammals, Matthew Webb, said: “Providing interesting and exciting enrichment toys is an important element of how we look after the animals and keep them stimulated.
Meerkats are naturally curious little animals so these footballs should keep them entertained for a while.”
The Zoo has recently welcomed four tiny new arrivals to the meerkat family. The four youngsters were born seven weeks ago and can often be seen out in their enclosure playing and foraging alongside the adults.
Matthew added: “We haven’t named the youngsters yet but if England do well we might name them after some of the stars of the team!”
Like the players in a football team, meerkats live in groups of up to 20 and work together, with each member taking on special duties for the benefit of the group as a whole.
Meerkats belong to the family of mongooses, but unlike mongooses, meerkats can only be found in Southern Africa, in places like the Kalahari Desert.