Meerkat Pups Appear at Brevard Zoo

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The Meerkat mob at Florida's Brevard Zoo is growing! The alpha male and female, Jasper and Kiki, have a new litter of pups, born about a month ago. But they've stayed mostly underground so far, and zoo officials aren't sure how many pups there are yet. The first sighting occured on April 14, when one little pup ventured outside the burrow only to be pulled back inside by mom. Since then, there have been some sporadic sightings. 

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5 meerkatPhoto credit: Brevard Zoo 

Keepers suspected that Kiki was pregnant when the new Meerkat exhibit opened on March 15, and had their suspicions confirmed a few weeks later when she appeared aboveground, suddenly looking a lot smaller. The babies have not yet been rounded up for a health check, but so far, everybody who's been sighted seems normal. 

UPDATE! Meerkats Surprise Staff at Five Sisters Zoo

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Last April, Five Sisters Zoo in Scotland was damaged by a terrible fire that not only destroyed their tropical house and 48 different species of small mammals and reptiles, but also the indoor meerkat house, killing 11 members of their meerkat family.  

At the beginning of November, keepers saw two meerkat kits emerge from the burrow – a true sign that the remaining meerkat pair had fully recovered from their trauma.  November in Scotland was not an ideal time to have young, but they are such resilient creatures that the babies have thrived ever since. 

Two weeks ago, two more kits emerged from the burrow, much to the delight of all the staff at the zoo!

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4 meerkatPhoto credit: Five Sisters Zoo / Lesley Coupar

Before the two additional kits made their appearance, a FaceBook appeal for name ideas generated hundreds of suggestions. The two most popular names were chosen: Alex, named for one of the first firemen on the scene at the zoo (who is also their postman by day), and Poppy, the flower of Remembrance Day, when the two pups emerged. The new additions have yet to be named. 

A new home for the meerkat family is nearly complete. It is located beside the site for their tropical house and will also house two porcupines and a new giant African Spurred Tortoise called Chad, who is 31 years old.  The meerkats should move into this new habitat within the next couple of weeks.

For more photos, see our story about the first two kits.

Meerkat Kits at Perth Zoo

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Perth Zoo has three new residents. These super-cute meerkat kits were born on February 15 and are just starting to explore their home in the Zoo’s African Savannah.

The trio kept to their nest box for the first three weeks but recently began venturing out and playing with the adults and older siblings in their 13-strong meerkat clan.

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Perth Zoo Meerkat Kits March

Photo credits: Perth Zoo

“All of the adult males in the group have been helping mum, Tilly, by sharing the babysitting duties,” Perth Zoo exotics keeper Kaelene McKay said.

“The sex of the kits will be determined at their first health check and vaccination next month.

“The kits are absolutely gorgeous and it’s a real treat to watch them playing together.”

Perth Zoo has two meerkat colonies in its African Savannah.

Found in southern African, meerkats are members of the Mongoose family. They are extremely social animals but are highly territorial and will fiercely defend their home from other meerkat mobs.

In the wild, appointed meerkat sentries keep a look-out for predators while other group members forage for food.

The sentries stand on their hind legs to get a good view of approaching predators and when a threat is spotted, the sentries let out an alarm call and the group dives into its burrow.

After Fire, Meerkat Family Grows at Five Sisters Zoo

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Five Sisters Zoo in Scotland is celebrating the birth of two baby Meerkats. The pups made their first public appearance on November 12, at two weeks old. It is especially good news after the damaging fire that occurred at the zoo in April. Meerkat mom, Annie, suffered burns on her face but has made a great recovery, and is now settled and content with her two new babies and her mate, Phoenix. It is wonderful to see the zoo's Meerkat family growing!

Five Sisters Zoo is looking for name ideas. You can submit your suggestions at the Zoo's Facebook page. (Bear in mind that keepers aren't sure what sex the two babies are yet!)

Click here if you would like to make a donation to the zoo's Fire Fund, to help them rebuild and recover.

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The pups bond with dad (photo 6) and mom (photo 7). 

Playful Meerkat Trio Joins the Family at Zoo Heidelberg

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Zoo Heidelberg's Meerkat family has grown again, for the second time this year. In early October, three pups were born. Born naked, blind and helpless, the pups have developed much over the past few weeks and now can be seen running around outside the den with the zoo's other 15 Meekats. The three young pups are very wild and playful, developing the skills that they would need in the wild to be successful foragers and hunters.

Meerkats, endemic to the desert of southern Africa, are members of the mongoose family. They live in social colonies in underground burrows and tunnels that help to protect them against the harsh sun. These groups always follow a structured system of rank: only the dominant male and female reproduce, while the others help out as babysitters. Some members of the colony act as scouts that cry out to warn each other if a predator, like a hawk, is spotted. Even though there aren't any serious predators at Heidelberg Zoo, the zoo's Meerkats still show this behavior.  

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Meerkat 5Photo credits: Peter Bastian (1-4); Heidrun Knigge (5)

Although small, Meerkats are skilled hunters and can kill prey up to the size of a lizard or bird. At the zoo, the Meerkats are presented with a healthy variety of fruits as well as animal foods. Their favorite treat is a sprinkling of mealworms: they love to scratch and dig around until every last one has been found. 

Meerkat Pups Join the Family at Bioparc Valencia

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Bioparc Valencia in Spain is now home to five little Meerkat pups. Meerkats, endemic to the desert of southern Africa, are members of the mongoose family. They live in social colonies in underground burrows and tunnels that help to protect them against the day's scorching heat. Some members of the colony act as scouts that cry out to warn each other if a predator, like a hawk, is spotted. Meerkats will also babysit for each other as they are raising pups, protecting and sometimes even nursing each other's young. 

Meerkats can reproduce year-round, and may have up to four litters per year in the wild. Pups leave the den to explore at about three weeks old, and start to learn how to forage for and eat small animals and plants by watching and mimicking adults. It takes careful observation and practice to master the art of catching (and eating) scorpions!

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See a video of the Meerkat family:

UPDATE! Meerkat Family Grows as Calgary Zoo Rebuilds

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Back in June, staff at Calgary Zoo in Alberta rushed to batten down the hatches during a flood. They rescued five meerkats from a damaged exhibit just in time. The zoo withstood terrible damage, but there was a bright spot too: one week later, on June 28, one of the rescued female meerkats gave birth to five little cubs. (See our original story about the rescue and birth here.)

At two months old, the five cubs are now healthy, adventurous, and growing like weeds. They haven't been named yet because it will take a checkup to determine the sexes of the pups. Their mother is doing an excellent job at raising her offspring, so caretakers have decided not to intervene with the family just yet, as everything appears to be going smoothly. 

Calgary Zoo is in the process of repairing and rebuilding after the extensive damage caused by the flood. If you'd like to help out with a donation, it's easy to do from the Calgary Zoo website!

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Photo credits: Calgary Zoo

Meerkat Family Grows at Cotswold Wildlife Park


The Cotswold Wildlife Park has their hands full with eight Meerkat pups. Three of the pups, currently living in the porcupine exhibit, were born on May 31. The other five were born on June 19.

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The name Meerkat comes from the Afrikaans words meaning "marsh cat". However, Meerkats are not related to cats, nor do they live in marshlands. Meerkats are social animals that live in large communities of 25 or more individuals. Communities live in burrows, composed of complex tunnel systems consisting of mounds, tunnels, and sleeping chambers. 

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Photo Credit: Cotswold Wildlife Park 

After Flood Rescue, Five Meerkats Born at Calgary Zoo

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In the early hours of Friday, June 21, at the height of the flood that engulfed the Calgary Zoo, curator Dr. Malu Celli and event-tech Josh Watson hurried to rescue the zoo’s five adult Meerkats – Petunia, Penelope, Kruger, Kwando, and Karoo – from the African Savannah building. No one anticipated the water would rise so high in the building and so the Meerkats had been left in their home the night before, with staff thinking they would be safe there. With the rapidly rising water quickly collapsing the burrows in their home, time was running out and the five had taken refuge in a concrete log in the exhibit. 

One week later, on Friday, June 28, while housed in comfortable temporary quarters at the zoo’s animal health center, five healthy pups were born. It seems that Penelope is the mom, but there’s a chance that some of the pups may belong to Petunia. Sounds confusing? While Penelope appears to be taking the lead as mom, Petunia is also lending a hand with the pups, and without close examination, it’s difficult to be 100 percent certain who is mom to whom. 

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Photo Credits: Calgary Zoo

See a video about the rescue below:

See and learn more after the fold.

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Six New Baby Meerkats Make Their Own Little Mob at Schönbrunn Zoo

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Making their own little mob, no less than six baby Meerkats were born on June 2 at Vienna's Schönbrunn Zoo! Last year, Meerkats were voted to be the favorite animals there by zoo guests, so this big addition is exciting news.

“We are of course thrilled that all six are doing great at the moment,” says the zoo’s director, Dagmar Schratter. “At birth, Meerkats are blind and naked. They spent the first few weeks in the safety of their burrow but to the delight of the visitors, they are now already exploring their surroundings, running the rest of the clan off their feet.”

Meerkats belong to the mongoose family and live in the savannas in the south of Africa. Typically, these small predators get up on their hind legs to watch out for possible danger. In a Meerkat colony, tasks are carefully distributed by a matriarch in the group (also called a mob). They also work together in raising their young whereby one of the animals always acts as “babysitter”. For the first few weeks, the six mini-Meerkats were suckled by their mother but since then, insects have been added to their diet.

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Photo Credits: Photo 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14: Daniel Zupanc, Photo 1, 8, 13: Tiergarten Schönbrunn/Norbert Potensky, Photo 4, 11: Walter Wodal,  

The plethora of pictures continues, after the fold:

Continue reading "Six New Baby Meerkats Make Their Own Little Mob at Schönbrunn Zoo" »