Meerkat

Why are these Perth Zoo Veterinarians So Happy?

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These Perth Zoo Veterinarians have a lot to be thankful for! They are giving this tiny baby Meerkat Kit a clean bill of health. This is no ordinary Meerkat kit, however. He's just returned to the Zoo via police escort after going MISSING!! Find out what happened tomorrow (Wednesday, November 21) at 12:00PM Noon EST when we air the penultimate episode of 'ZooBorns: Australia!', our Facebook Watch show.


Four Mischievous Meerkats Born at Chester Zoo

Four playful meerkat pups born at Chester Zoo (57)

Four mischievous Meerkat pups have been born at Chester Zoo.

The quadruplets have been tucked away in their den since being born on March 26, but have started exploring their habitat for the very first time.

Four playful meerkat pups born at Chester Zoo (5)
Four playful meerkat pups born at Chester Zoo (5)
Four playful meerkat pups born at Chester Zoo (5)Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

The new arrivals, which have not yet been sexed or named by keepers, were born to first-time parents Huskie and Beagle.

Lead keeper Kirsten Wicks said, “Parents Huskie and Beagle have been minor celebrities since they appeared on Channel 4’s The Secret Life of The Zoo last month. Visitors have been really keen to know how they’re getting on, so it’s amazing to be able to share the great news about their new arrivals.”

“This is their first litter and the pups are doing incredibly well, they have already began learning how to forage for food and are spending lots of time grooming and playing together. It’s the start of a growing, happy new mob!” Wicks said.

Meerkats are native to South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Angola and inhabit open country and sparse woody scrublands. Most live in underground burrows in groups of about 30 individuals called a gang or a mob. They mark their territories with scent glands, which are located below their tails. 

Expert diggers, Meerkats can close their ears to keep dirt out while excavating. The dark patches around their eyes help reduce glare on the sunny African savannah. They feed primarily on insects and other invertebrates. At this time, Meerkats are not threatened and are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos of the quadruplets below.

Continue reading "Four Mischievous Meerkats Born at Chester Zoo" »


Meerkat Siblings Join the Troop at Taronga

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Keepers at Taronga Zoo Sydney are excited by the arrival of two Meerkat pups, born on January 20.

This is the sixth litter of pups for mother, Narobi, who has been keeping a close eye on her offspring as they emerge from the den and explore their surroundings. The pair was fathered by Maputo.

The sex of the duo is yet-to-be-determined, so they are currently without names. However, when the time is right, their names will likely be taken from the Swahili language to reflect their African heritage.

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4_Photo 8-2-18  2 25 38 pmPhoto Credits: Taronga Zoo Sydney

As with all Meerkat young, the pups are developing very quickly. Carnivore Keeper, Maz Boz, said, “The infants are starting to eat bits of fruits, veggies and fly pupae. They learn to eat solids by mimicking their parents and siblings, which is a natural behaviour in the wild.”

“The pups are now standing on their hind legs, which will play an important role during sentry duty watches when they become adults,” Maz added. “The pups are now starting to emerge outside after a few weeks being in their dens, visitors can see the pups for short periods each day as they start to grow in confidence and explore their home.”

“Mum, Nairobi, is a very experienced mother having her sixth litter, two daughters, Serati and Xolani, also learning from her and being very tentative and assisting their mother in babysitting the pups whilst mum has a break,” said Maz.

Both Narobi and father, Maputo, play an important role in rearing the pups. The other members of the troop will also assist with caring for and protecting the pups as they grow and develop.

According to the Keepers at Taronga Zoo, they are quite hands-off with the Meerkats. They choose to allow the “politics” to be sorted out by the animals within their own hierarchy.

“They may be young, but they’re already showing signs of their own little personalities. They are both quite outgoing, adventurous and inquisitive jumping on the other Meerkats to play,” Maz concluded.

The Meerkat pups can be seen on exhibit with the rest of their troop, which is now comprised of eighteen in total. According to Maz, the best time to catch a glimpse of the pups is during the daily Keeper Talk and feeding at 11:30am daily.

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Meerkat Pups Named After Santa's Reindeer

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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.

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Meerkat-pupsPhoto Credit: Brevard Zoo


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.


Meerkat Triplets Emerge at Australia's National Zoo

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Australia’s National Zoo & Aquarium Canberra is celebrating the arrival of three Meerkat pups, the first ever to be displayed at the zoo.

Weighing just over five ounces each, the tiny triplets were born August 21 and emerged from their den just last week.

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21761544_10155651064175645_1562556253492468978_nPhoto Credit:  National Zoo & Aquarium Canberra

Their mother, Sekai, and dad, Sergei, are attentive parents. They’re helping the little pups learn about life above ground and introducing them to their older brothers, who often serve as babysitters.

Found only in southern Africa, Meerkats are well-known for their strong social ties.  One Meerkat will stand guard as the rest of the mob fans out to forage for insects, lizards, scorpions, eggs, and small mammals. 

Meerkats are expert diggers, able to move their weight in sand within a few seconds.  They dig to locate food and create an elaborate system of underground burrows.

Baby Meerkats remain in their burrow with mom for about one month before they emerge and start learning to find food on their own.  An adult from the mob usually teaches the young Meerkats how to find food and stay safe from predators. 

See more photos of the tiny triplets below!

Continue reading "Meerkat Triplets Emerge at Australia's National Zoo" »


Meerkat Pups Emerge for Mischief at Nashville Zoo

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of three Meerkats on August 17.

The trio is the first offspring for parents Calvin (age 11) and Victoria (age 9). The pair has been together for 2.5 years but never successfully produced pups.

“Calvin and Victoria are proving to be great parents and have shown constant attention to the new additions,” said Sabrina Barnes, Area Supervisor of Primates. “We are very excited to once again have Meerkat pups at Nashville Zoo!”

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3_36387283684_3985559802_bPhoto Credits: Rachel Schleicher

Keepers have noticed Calvin and Victoria taking turns caring for the pups. When Victoria is not in the burrow nursing, Calvin is inside caring for them. Meerkat society is centered around family groups (known as “mobs”), relying heavily on group cooperation. The pups will stay at the Nashville Zoo to live in a family group.

The average litter size for Meerkats ranges from 1 to 6 pups, and pups average 25-35 grams in weight when born.

Meerkats are currently listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. They live throughout southern Africa and are present in several protected areas, with no major threats at this time.

Nashville Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for this species to maintain the captive population.


Five Adorable Meerkat Pups Emerge at Adelaide Zoo

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Adelaide Zoo recently announced the birth of five incredibly adorable Meerkat pups!

Born in the early hours of the morning on July 24, the month-old pups are the first offspring born to proud parents, Miney and Swazi.

The new arrivals are an exciting addition to the Adelaide Zoo family as they are the first Meerkats born at the zoo in seven years.

The yet-to-be-sexed youngsters have spent the first few weeks of life in their burrow being looked after by mum and dad, and have just started to venture outside.

Adelaide Zoo Meerkat Keeper, Jenna Hollamby, said, “The pups are absolutely tiny, probably tipping the scales at about 100 grams each.”

Hollamby continued, “The youngsters are still a little unsure of the big new world outside, but with a bit of encouragement from mum and dad they have started to explore their home. Miney and Swazi are doting first-time parents, tending to the pups every need and taking turns at sentry duty guarding their burrow.”

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Visitors to Adelaide Zoo will start to see the pups in their habitat in front of the Giraffe for short periods each day, as they grow in confidence and start to explore the outside world.

“The pups are still spending a lot of time inside, but every day, they explore further from their burrow and are becoming more adventurous,” Jenna Hollamby said. “The best time for visitors to try and catch a glimpse of the new family is first thing in the morning or when the sun is shining.”

The pups’ sex will be confirmed during their eight-week check-up, where they will also receive their first vaccinations and an overall health examination.

As a conservation charity, which exists to save species from extinction, Adelaide Zoo is proud to have bred more than 80 Meerkats since 1993. Meerkats (Suricata suricatta) are native to southern Africa and can be found in the Kalahari Desert. They have adapted to living in very harsh conditions and climate, with little water, limited food and many predators.


Special Package Arrives at Cango Wildlife Ranch

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Recently, a gentleman stopped at the entrance of Cango Wildlife Ranch, at Oudtshoorn South Africa, with a box containing a tiny, big-eyed Meerkat pup.

According to the gentleman, he discovered the baby hovering near mommy’s lifeless body in the middle of a road on the outskirts of Oudtshoorn. Sadly, mom had been hit by a car; and not wanting the youngster to suffer the same fate, the man caught the pup and quickly drove his little rescue straight to Cango Wildlife Ranch.

The baby Meerkat was fondly named Scout by his new keepers and went into round-the-clock care in the park’s Animal Care Centre.

Staff confirmed that Scout is a male, and they believe that, around the date of drop-off, he was between 6 to 8 weeks of age.

For the first few days, he was fed milk by syringe and later moved onto solids such as chicken. It is reported that he has formed devoted bonds with his carers, who are working hard to instill natural Meerkat behavior and enrichment into his daily routine.

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4_^F85296DE4C0DBEC6B12AE33E8B17685C77B8B28A7ADFD67516^pimgpsh_fullsize_distrPhoto Credits: Cango Wildlife Ranch

Due to the expertise of the staff at the Ranch, and their recently built animal hospital, they often accept the responsibility of caring for injured fauna that are brought to them by local travelers, residents, and farmers in accordance with Cape Nature.

In many cases, staff is able to rehabilitate and even release, specifically with injured snakes, tortoises and birds. However, some releases are simply not possible due to the extent of injuries and human contact experienced throughout the process of rehabilitation. Scout, for example, having been hand-raised, will join the Meerkat exhibit at Cango Wildlife Ranch indefinitely.

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Brevard Zoo’s Meerkat Pups Emerge for Spring

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Two Meerkat pups at Brevard Zoo recently emerged from their burrow, just in time for Spring!

The pups were born to mom Kiki on February 17 and have spent the first few weeks of their lives snuggled safely underground. At this time, the keepers do not know the sex of either pup.

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Although their name might suggest otherwise, Meerkats are not related to cats. The Meerkat, or Suricate (Suricata suricatta), is a small carnivoran belonging to the mongoose family. They are native to all parts of the Namib Desert in Namibia and southwestern Angola, and in South Africa.

Gestation for Meerkats is about eleven weeks. In the wild, Meerkats give birth in underground burrows to help keep the newborns safe from predators. To shield the pups from dust in their subterranean homes, they are born with their eyes and ears closed. Meerkat babies are also nearly hairless at birth, though a light coat of silver and brown fur begins to fill in after just a few days.

The babies nurse for about nine weeks, and they grow very quickly. Though they weigh only about an ounce at birth, by six months old, the pups are about the same size as the adults.

These desert-dwellers are highly social critters and live in groups, called mobs, which can include dozens of individuals from multiple families. Some members of the mob may also act as “babysitters” to the pups.

Meerkats have scent pouches below their tails and will rub these pouches on rocks and plants to mark their territory. The dark patches around their eyes act to cut down on sun glare and help them see far into the distance.

Meerkats have four toes on each feet and very long, non-retractable claws to help them dig. They can also close their ears to keep dirt out while digging.

As a species they have an interesting feeding approach as they will always maintain visual and vocal contact whilst foraging, with one of the group standing on its hind legs and acting as sentry on the lookout for predators. They feed mostly on invertebrates and plant matter.

They are currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In the wild, they are present in several large and well-managed protected areas. However, population densities can fluctuate due to predation and rainfall variations.

Wild populations are currently stable. However, over the past couple of decades, movies and television shows have brought Meerkats a lot of attention, with many people wondering if they can keep a Meerkat as a pet. Although they may look cute, Meerkats, like all wild animals, do NOT make good pets, and they are illegal to own without the proper permits and licenses!

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It's Christmas for the Animals at London Zoo

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Christmas gifts aren't just for people - the animals at ZSL London Zoo got their paws on Christmas presents this year, too!

Six-month-old Sumatran Tiger cubs Achilles and Karis woke up to a pile of pretty presents to rip open, while the Meerkat mob merrily munched on pinecone ornaments stuffed with veggies, hanging from a Christmas tree.
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Tiger cubs get Christmas presents (c) ZSL London Zoo (3)
Meerkat Christmas treat 9c) ZSL London Zoo (6)Photo Credit:  ZSL London Zoo

Zoological Manager Mark Habben said, “We love a bit of festive cheer at ZSL London Zoo, and like to find fun ways for the animals to join in the festivities."

“We’ve come up with a variety of activities to encourage them to use their natural skills, like foraging or sniffing out their next meal: our Tiger cubs loved using their newly learnt hunting prowess to rip open their presents, while our Meerkats searched for their treats under the tree - just like kids all over the country on Christmas day.”

Merry Christmas from ZooBorns!