A litter of Meerkats was born at the United Kingdom’s Blackpool Zoo on March 6! The teensy pups were photographed before they had even opened their eyes.
Photo Credit: Blackpool Zoo
Meerkat litters usually contain two to five pups, which are born in an underground burrow. Members of the troop pitch in to cooperatively raise the young. For the first three weeks of life, the pups remain in the burrow.
When the pups are about four weeks old, they start to accompany their group on foraging runs, where they eventually learn to capture insects and other invertebrates to eat. The pups become mature at about one year old.
Well known for their highly social behavior, Meerkats dig elaborate burrow systems to house their group of up to 50 individuals. Meerkats rely a group member to act as a sentry, usually stationed on an elevated mound or rock, to keep a lookout for danger. Meerkats have a vast repertoire of calls, grunts, and barks to alert group members to different types of threats. Certain alarm calls will send the Meerkats into the burrow for protection.
Found in southern Africa, Meerkats are plentiful and not listed as Endangered or Threatened.