Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is alive with the pitter patter of really teeny tiny feet! The zoo’s resident Meerkat mom recently gave birth to several kits. The zoo staff is unsure how many kits are in the litter, but suspects they were born around August 26. Mother Meerkat has been keeping her babies hidden in a tunnel den, mostly out of view of staff members and the public.
“We decided it would be better for the health and welfare of the kits to not disturb them by entering the exhibit and allow them time to bond with their mother,” Curator of Animals Andi Kornak said. “Consequently, we are not sure exactly how many of them there may be total, but we do have visual confirmation on three individuals.”
Meerkat kits in the wild are kept hidden in the mob’s tunnel system to protect them from predators. They are tended to by several members of the mob, not just their mother, who act as baby-sitters or wet nurses. A Meerkat typically gives birth to between one and five kits. The kits normally begin exploring outside the den at about 3-4 weeks old.
Meerkats are native to southern Africa, including Angola, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. In the wild they forage for insects are other small creatures including scorpions and spiders.Photo credit: Joe Yachanin/Cleveland Metroparks Zoo