Meerkat

Zoo Keepers Save Orphaned Baby Meerkat at Chessington World of Adventures Resort

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Meet baby Lila. Zoo Keepers at the UK's Chessington World of Adventures Resort have taken the tiny Meerkat under their wing, after she was rejected by her mother. Just 22 days old and weighing 119 grams, the equivalent weight of half a stick of butter, Lila is receiving round the clock attention.

Keeper Gemma Anscomb has taken on the challenge of being the main caregiver for Lila, with duties including milk-feeding every two hours and lots of cuddles. Anscomb said, “Little Lila was sadly abandoned by her mummy. This often happens in the wild. If the parents feel that the family group is getting too large, they will often seek out the weakest of the group and reject them from it. We closely monitored the group following Lila’s birth and when we saw something wasn’t quite right, we stepped in. I’m delighted to say she is doing really well.”

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Photo Credit: Chessington World of Adventures Resort

“We’re all so pleased to see that little Lila is developing by the day and are looking forward to introducing her to her new family in the Wanyama Village very soon,” Anscomb added. She may be small but she’s a little fighter and has proven quite a character already!  She loves nothing more than snuggling up to her Mumma Duck cuddly toy and getting lots of attention from her keepers.”

Lila has begun a program of meeting her fellow Meerkat playmates, where she’s learning behaviors from them and developing her natural instincts. She will also begin to try some solid food. Lila will make her public debut this Saturday, May 25.

 




Trio of Meerkat Kits Born at Paradise Wildlife Park

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On February 14, Meerkat mom Twig delivered three kits at the Paradise Wildlife Park in the United Kingdom.  The little Meerkats, all males, were named Mr. Darcy, Romeo, and Puck after characters in classic romantic stories.  The trio’s arrival brings the grand total of Meerkats at the park to 13.

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Photo Credits:  Paradise Wildlife Park

It doesn’t take Meerkat kits very long to become busy, active members of their clan.  At about three weeks old, the kits emerged from the burrow for the first time and quickly learned to forage with the adults.  They now spend much of their day investigating their exhibit and playing with each other, according to the Park’s staff.

In the wild, Meerkats construct a complex system of underground burrows in which they sleep, bear young, and hide from predators.  They live in family groups of 20-30 individuals and often share duties parenting the young, acting as lookouts, and babysitting kits.  Meerkats spend most of the day foraging for insects, bird and reptile eggs, lizards, scorpions, spiders, and small mammals. 

Meerkats are native to southernmost Africa, where they inhabit portions of the Kalahari and Namib deserts, Angola, and South Africa.  They are not considered a threatened species. 

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Presenting Lilo, Mushu, Grimsby, Basil and Fidget!

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The Feb. 26th birth of 5 Meerkat kits, Lilo, Mushu, Grimsby, Basil and Fidget, brings the total Meerkat population at Tacoma, WA's Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium to 26. Each new kit is around as heavy as 2/3 of a cup of water! This is the zoo's second batch of kits this month. Zookeepers in the zoo’s Kids’ Zone area say at least one group of adults and kits will be on exhibit for at least half of the day during regular zoo hours.


Meerkat Kits Arrive at Warsaw Zoo

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On February 2nd the Warsaw Zoo received their newest addition with the birth of a litter of Meerkat kits. The birth brought three new members to the zoo's clan of Meerkats. The youngsters have emerged from the burrow, which they were born in just over a month ago, and are now out and about on exhibit for all to see.

Meerkats, native to southern Africa are small carnivores in the mongoose family. Females give birth to litters up four times a year. Young are born in a burrow, and after opening their eyes for the first time approximately 14 days after birth, come above ground to explore the world at about three weeks of age.

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Photo Credit: Warsaw Zoo


Meet Frick and Frack, Point Defiance Zoo's Newest Additions

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The Meerkat gangs at Point Defiance Zoo have grown again, and the newest kits – Frick and Frack – are now on exhibit in the Kids' Zone. The two were born to mom Darwin on Feb. 3 and weigh about 140 and 150 grams. That’s around 5 to 6 ounces -- about the same as two-thirds of a cup of water! They will grow to be about 1.5 to 2 pounds each and will measure approximately 14 inches long, not counting the length of their tails.

Meerkats are very social animals, and live together as families known as gangs. Each gang at the Zoo is referred to by the dominant female’s name. So Frick and Frack bring the number of Meerkats in the Darwin gang to seven. There are two other gangs - the Amelia gang of nine and the Huxley gang of five. Each assume roles within the group; Darwin has had help from one or more "babysitters" in the gang, who look after the new babies as they explore and adapt to the habitat. Meerkats belong to the mongoose family and live in the savannahs in the south of Africa.

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Photo Credit: Point Defiance Zoo

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One Masked Baby Meerkat Peeks Out from Behind Mom at Chester Zoo

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Chester Zoo is celebrating the arrival of its newest resident – a Meerkat kit. The tiny newcomer has made its first public appearance after being hidden away in burrows by its parents since being born three weeks ago (approximately January 9). That is the normal time frame for babies to emerge from the den and begin to inspect their surroundings. 

Keeper Chris Grindle said, “The pup is doing really well and has now started exploring its exhibit with the adults. Soon it’ll learn to forage and dig in the sand for grubs. It’s too small to sex at the moment but we should know if it’s male or female in the next couple of weeks.” Once the baby's gender is known, it will be named. 

As a rule, mothers keep their young underground in the first few weeks of life, so it can be hard to tell an exact birthdate, or even know how many kits might be in a litter. In the wild, this also protects them against predators. In addition to Mom's care, kits are tended to by select members of their mob as babysitters, while others stand guard, scanning the horizon and skies for any dangers, ready to alert the group if need be. In fact, the dark patches around their eyes act to cut down on the glare and help them see far into the distance. Meerkats are native to Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa.

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Photo Credit: Chester Zoo


Three Tiny Meerkat Pups Get a Foster Mom

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Christmas came a little early at the UK's Dartmoor Zoological Park when three adorable Meerkat pups were born just before last month's holiday. Adults Sue and Timon arrived at the zoo in the spring of 2010 and while they settled in well, they left keepers waiting for the kits they were hoping for despite the fact that Sue was an experienced mother.

Things started to take a positive turn when the zoo received another female named Xena this past summer. "We were apprehensive because meerkats are very territorial, but we were very careful and it seemed to work," said operations manager George Hyde.

Xena certainly seems to be getting along just fine with Timon and gave birth to their three offspring, a male and two females, just before Christmas. Sue, being an experienced mother, immediately began helping with mothering duties. Xena shouldn't mind the help caring for her dependents who, like all Meerkats, didn't open their eyes or ears for close to two weeks after birth.

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Photo credits: Steve Haywood / Dartmoor Zoological Park

The tiny trio has been out on exhibit for visitors to admire since early January. Keepers are currently working on coming up with names for their newest arrivals and are taking suggestions from the public. Be sure to contact them with any ideas!


Meerkat Pups Emerge From the Den at Taronga Zoo

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Two Meerkat pups born on December 15 at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo are emerging from the den to explore their surroundings. This is the fifth litter of pups for their mother, Umi, who keeps a close watch on her adventurous pups.

Keepers named the female pup Zola, meaning “love,” and the male Kato, meaning “second born of twins” in an African language.  “The two Meerkat pups are doing well and Umi is displaying all the right maternal behaviours, which is great to see,” said zoo keeper Karen Ellis.

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Photo Credits:  Taronga Zoo

Both Umi and the father, Maputo, play an important role in rearing the pups.  Other members of the Meerkat troop pitch in to care for and protect the pups as they grow.  The zoo’s Meerkat troop now numbers 11 individuals.

Native to southern Africa, Meerkats live in large family groups within underground burrows.  Members of the group take turns acting as sentries, standing upright at the burrow entrance to warn others of threats.  When danger approaches, the sentry barks a warning, alerting the group to seek shelter in the burrow. 


Meerkats Abound at Cleveland Zoo

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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.

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“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

Get the First Look at Dublin Zoo's Baby Meerkat Duo!

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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.

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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.

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Photo Credit: Dublin Zoo