Dublin Zoo has announced the arrival of two Meerkat pups to their family of four adults. Although the pups were born in July, visitors are only now getting their first glimpse of them, as mom and dad kept the pups hidden in burrows during the early stages of their lives. Throughout this period, their parents and two aunts kept watch over those secret passages, calling out and warning each other if there were any signs of danger or predators nearby. This is typical of Meerkats who demonstrate altruistic behavior within their colonies, where one or more Meerkats stand guard to warn others of approaching dangers.
Eddie O’Brien, team leader, said, “We are delighted with the arrival of the pups. It has been some time since Meerkats were born at the Zoo, so these are a welcome additions. We think the youngsters are female." Both pups are doing very well. They are still feeding from their mother but recently have also started eating solids.
Meerkats are small mammals belonging to the mongoose family. They are found in various parts of southern Africa including the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, the Namib Desert in Namibia, southwestern Angola and South Africa. Primarily insectivores, they can also eat eat lizards, snakes, scorpions, spiders, eggs, small mammals, millipedes, centipedes and, more rarely, small birds.
Visitors can see the Meerkat pups in the Meerkat Restaurant at Dublin Zoo.