Three Meerkat pups born at the Brevard Zoo on December 4 have been given Christmas-themed names after fans voted in an online contest.
The tiny triplets were named Vixen, Comet, and Cupid after three of Santa’s Reindeer. The genders of the pups are not yet known.
At birth, the Meerkat pups’ eyes and ears were closed, and they each weighed about one ounce (roughly the weight of five U.S. quarters). They were born to mom Cashew, age three, and five-year-old dad Kirabo. For now, the trio is still behind the scenes with their parents and several other adults. Young Meerkats typically remain in the burrow for about a month before emerging to explore the outside world.
Meerkats are found only in southern Africa, where they inhabit grasslands and savannahs. Strong social bonds exist among members of a mob. One member will stand guard while others forage for insects, lizards, and small mammals. Adults share the task of teaching younger members of the mob how to find food and avoid predators.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists Meerkats as a species of Least Concern, meaning that Meerkats are not under a serious threat at this time.