Meerkat

Meerkat Triplets Emerge at Australia's National Zoo

8965420-3x2-940x627

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.

21761883_10155651064180645_3011537670301227183_n
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

1_36409942973_29346c6757_b

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!”

2_37224892145_17c55dda27_b

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

1_20861641_1786252061402891_4704519395763546943_o

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.”

2_Capture-960x620

3_Credit Gemma Louise Photography

21125786_1886139321412931_218536139321159402_oPhoto Credits: Adrian Mann (Image 1) / Adelaide Zoo (2) / Gemma Louise Photography (3) / Mark Hamilton Photography (4)

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

1_^5FEF3477D1BEA636F25EEE0B53320F2A46F3B0CFF4EF713FE8^pimgpsh_fullsize_distr

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.

2_^3C4B5807EDAFF6778DD89DAB03CC7E86C3DF0190237EBEF1FA^pimgpsh_fullsize_distr

3_^01846CA63483259E636122DB7DAE0009520D888CFD25985E28^pimgpsh_fullsize_distr

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.

Continue reading "Special Package Arrives at Cango Wildlife Ranch" »


Brevard Zoo’s Meerkat Pups Emerge for Spring

1_pups 2

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.

2_pups 3

3_pups 4

4_pups 5Photo Credits: Brevard Zoo

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!

5_pups 1


It's Christmas for the Animals at London Zoo

Tiger cubs get Christmas presents (c) ZSL London Zoo (1)
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.
Meerkat Christmas treat 9c) ZSL London Zoo (2)

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!


Taronga Welcomes Its Largest-Ever Meerkat Litter

Meerkat Pups 13_Photo by Paul Fahy
Taronga Zoo welcomed its largest litter of Meerkats ever, with keepers monitoring the progress of six playful pups.

The pups were born on November 7, but have just begun to venture outside their nest box to explore their habitat.  This is the third litter for experienced parents Nairobi and Maputo.  Previous litters had only two pups each. 

Meerkat Pups 5_Photo by Paul Fahy
Meerkat Pups 18_Photo by Paul Fahy
Meerkat Pups 16_Photo by Courtney MahonyPhoto Credits:  Paul Fahy (1,2,3,5,6,7,8,9), Courtney Mahoney (4,10,11,12)

Keeper Courtney Mahony said the size of this litter came as a complete surprise.

“We knew that Nairobi was bigger than she was during her previous pregnancies, but we definitely weren’t expecting six pups! Meerkats usually give birth to 3-4 pups, so mum certainly has her paws full this time,” said Courtney.

Courtney said Nairobi appeared to be relaxed and confident caring for the largest litter of pups in Taronga’s history.

“She’s an incredible mother and seems to be taking it all in her stride. She’s so attentive to the pups and she’s getting lots of babysitting help from dad and her eldest daughter, Serati,” said Courtney.

Keepers will confirm the sex of the pups when they have their first veterinary examination next month, but they suspect there are three males and three females. They have begun to do hands on health checks and weigh the pups regularly to ensure they are healthy and comfortable in their presence.

The yet-to-be-named pups have started to sample solid foods, such as mealworms, wood roaches, fruit and vegetables.

“They are growing a bit slower than our two previous litters, but they’re still hitting all the right milestones and starting to show their own little personalities. The biggest pup is a boy and he’s definitely the most adventurous of the six. He’s the first out of the nest box each morning and the first one to explore new things,” said Courtney.

Native to southern Africa’s arid plains, Meerkats live in extended family groups called mobs.  With sharp claws, they dig for insects, spiders, centipedes, and other small animals, which are crushed with sharp teeth.  As social animals, Meerkats have a wide range of vocalizations to convey alarm, fear, and contentment.   The International Union for Conservation of Nature states that there are no major threats to the species.   

 

Continue reading "Taronga Welcomes Its Largest-Ever Meerkat Litter" »


Trouble Comes in…Fours?

1_Meerkat pup & Adult_LG

The “cute meter” hit an all-time high the morning of April 18, as the Meerkat mob at the San Diego Zoo showed off four new additions to the family. Mom Debbie gave birth to four adorable baby Meerkats, and the pups have left their den to explore the interesting world above ground.

2_Meerkat Pups_2_LG

3_Meerkat Pups_LG

4_Meerkat pup Feeding_LGPhoto Credits: San Diego Zoo

 

Animal care staff became excited when they realized Debbie was pregnant with a new litter, and they began to diligently monitor her weight to estimate when the pups would arrive.

In March, Zoo staff noticed Debbie was spending her time underground, indicating it was time to give birth. Normally, Meerkat moms keep their newborns secluded underground for up to a week before allowing them to meet with the rest of the family; however, Debbie surprised everyone by introducing the babies after only three days!

The four youngsters are now regularly out of their den playing, eating and exploring their habitat. Animal Care staff explains that in Meerkat society, everyone has a job, whether it’s being a sentry or babysitting. Now that the pups are old enough, every member of the family (under the direction of Debbie, of course) will provide the babies with important survival training, including the most important Meerkat behavior: digging.

Zoo staff says that, for Meerkats raising new pups, it takes a village—or, in this case, a mob. “The rest of the family, made up of older siblings, is also very involved with raising the pups,” says Liz Johnson, keeper. “They are great babysitters and are constantly checking on them. The pups are very vocal, and their siblings are quick to respond if they call out.”

Although their name may cause some confusion, Meerkats are not 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.

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!

San Diego Zoo guests can see mom Debbie, her four adorable pups and the other 12 members of the mob play, nap and eat in their habitat.

*Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.


Pups Emerge With Meerkat Mob at Chester Zoo

1_Meerkat pups at Chester Zoo (16)

Three Meerkat pups recently made their first public appearances at Chester Zoo. Born on January 28, the terrific trio had been kept out of sight by their mum, and the rest of the Meerkat mob, until they were ready to emerge from their underground burrow.

For the time being, it is unclear whether the pups are male or female. However, the three are scheduled to undergo their first health check-up soon, and then all will be revealed!

2_Meerkat pups at Chester Zoo (26)

3_Meerkat pups at Chester Zoo (17)

4_Meerkat pups at Chester Zoo (33)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

 

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.

Continue reading "Pups Emerge With Meerkat Mob at Chester Zoo" »


Taronga Zoo’s Meerkat Pups Given Names

1_TarongaZooTwo-month-oldMeerkats

The two-month-old Meerkat pups at Taronga Zoo were recently given names to reflect their African heritage. Meet ‘Lwazi’ and his sister ‘Serati’! The playful siblings were born January 7 to first-time mom, Nairobi, and dad, Maputo.

The Zoo has been celebrating this birth of its first Meerkat pups in nearly seven years. Check out our earlier article that introduced the pair: "Meerkat Pups Go Exploring at Taronga Zoo"

2_TarongaZooMeerkats

3_TarongaZooMeerkats

4_TarongaZooTwo-month-oldMeerkatsPhoto Credits: Rick Stevens

“They may be young, but they’re already showing signs of their own little personalities. Our male is the bigger of the two and he’s more adventurous and inquisitive, while the female is quieter and prefers to stay close to mum,” said Keeper, Courtney Mahony.

“This is all new for them and they learn by observing their mum and dad, so we’re very lucky that Nairobi and Maputo are proving to be fantastic and attentive first-time parents. Nairobi is letting the pups suckle and grooming them at the right times and Maputo protects them, huddles over them and curls up with them at night.”

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.

These desert-dwellers are highly social critters and live in groups, called mobs, which can include dozens of individuals from multiple families.

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.

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.

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.