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Keepers at Edinburgh Zoo are delighted to announce the arrival of three Meerkat pups.



_MG_5374_edited-1_Mike_GilburtPhoto Credits: Royal Zoological Society of Scotland

The lively bunch has joined the troop of Meerkats at Meerkat Plaza, in Edinburgh Zoo, and has started to venture outside the safety of the burrow and is slowly learning the ropes.

Andrew Laing, Carnivore Keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, said, “The Meerkats are always a favorite with our visitors, so it’s wonderful to see some new additions to the group. At only four weeks old the pups are settling in well and their individual personalities are starting to show. Mum, ‘Queen’, and dad, ‘Ace’, are doing really well and are getting plenty of help from other members of the group to raise the pups. Meerkats are actually cooperative breeders, which mean that all adults within the group will help to care for the young.”

Andrew continued, “Meerkats have a gestation period of around 11 weeks, so we didn't have long to wait for them to arrive, but for the first three weeks of life they stay in the burrow being looked after by the adults. At around four weeks old they will start to explore outside of the den. It’s good to see them out and about learning how to catch their own food.”

Meerkats are the most well-known member of the mongoose family. They inhabit dry, open areas with short grass and sparse woody scrub, mainly in southern Africa.

In April 2014, Edinburgh Zoo unveiled its new Meerkat enclosure, Meerkat Plaza, with the help of legendary Edinburgh author Alexander McCall Smith. The dynamic new enclosure is located at the entrance to the Zoo and features sanded areas for digging, large rock features, caves, heat pads and a Meerkat house. Visitors can come face to face with the charismatic creatures, with 20 meters of glass paneling running along the front. Four large wooden Meerkat benches featuring hand-crafted Meerkat carvings, created by a local chainsaw artist Iain Chalmers, take pride of place in the middle of the plaza.