Five tiny Dwarf Mongoose pups, born at Chester Zoo, recently emerged from their den for the first time.
The pups were spotted following in the footsteps of mum as they took their maiden steps into the outside world.
The quintet is the first litter for mum, Mini, and dad, Cooper. Both parents arrived at Chester Zoo in late 2016.
Keepers were first alerted to the new arrivals several weeks ago when they heard “little squeaks” coming from their nest box.
Nick Davis, Deputy Curator of Mammals at Chester Zoo, said, “Dwarf Mongooses are curious characters and are incredibly adventurous and playful. The babies are certainly keeping mum and dad on their toes.”
Native to sub-Saharan Africa, the Dwarf Mongoose (Helogale parvula) is the smallest of all carnivores on the continent, with adults growing to just 30cm (12 inches) in length. Interestingly, Dwarf Mongooses are relatives of Meerkats.
Dwarf Mongooses are found living in woodlands, grasslands and rocky outcrops. They mainly feed on locusts, beetles, spiders, termites, grubs and mealworms, smaller mammals like mice, small birds, lizards and snakes.
Given the tiny size of Chester Zoo’s latest arrivals, it’s too early for keepers to be able to confirm the sex of any of the pups.