The new pups are the latest of three litters born to proud parents Pansy and Brendan in 2022, with keepers believing this to be the first time that we’ve ever seen this many litters from one breeding pair in a year!
11 August 2022 The U.K.’s West Midland Safari Park is pleased to announce the arrival of three, tiny meerkat pups – the first litter in over nine years.
Signs that the incredibly cute youngsters had been born, were spotted on 22 July, when none of the adult meerkats were out in their habitat. Keepers found the adults’ heads poking out of the nest box, with some tiny squeaks being emitted from inside.
Hilvarenbeek, June 2, 2022 - Two meerkats were born at Safaripark Beekse Bergen. Unfortunately, one of these young meerkats passed away today. In total, there are now ten adult meerkats and one young in the park. These small predators live in the wild in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Zookeeper Christian Meurrens explains: "Births are always exciting. In the first weeks, a lot can still go wrong. With this duo it looked good, but unfortunately one of the meerkats did not make it. Fortunately, the other youngster is doing well."
Meerkats are born blind and then stay in the burrow for another two weeks. Around the third week they crawl out of their burrow. The mother and other meerkats keep a close eye on the young. After about six weeks, the small predators eat solid food, and they are independent when they are sixteen weeks old. The animals are usually between ten and fifteen years old.
Drusillas Park’s Meerkats, Tamu and Tyson, welcomed twin pups on the 12th May 2021. In late September, the proud pair welcomed yet another 4 pups. It’s all part of a bountiful baby boom summer at Drusillas Park in East Sussex, UK.
Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo are delighted by the birth of three Meerkat pups on 16 August 2021 to parents Midra and Howell.
This is the second litter for Midra and Howell, having welcomed five pups in late November 2020. This new litter comprises of one male and two females. The pups are yet to be named and have recently emerged from their den.
“The pups generally stay in the den for the first couple of weeks of life until they open their eyes and get stronger,” said Meerkat Keeper, Karen James.
“The trio has only recently emerged from the den and we are really happy with how they are growing and developing.”
The five older siblings play a very important role in helping to babysit and care for the new pups. Whilst they rely on mum for milk for now, they will start trying solid food at around four weeks of age.
“At six weeks of age the Meerkat pups will have their first of three vaccinations and we will conduct a quick physical examination at the same time,” said Karen.
“We are looking forward to watching the pups grow both in size and confidence as they start to explore their habitat more and more.”
Whilst it is temporarily closed, the Zoo will be provide regular updates on the new arrivals through its social media channels.
“No doubt when the Zoo does reopen a visit to see the Meerkats will be high on the list of things to do, as they don’t stay little for long,” said Karen.
This recent birth brings the total number of Meerkats at The Waterhole precinct to 10. There is also a second group of Meerkats next to the Black Rhinos at the start of the zoo circuit.
“Last spring, pups were born at Amersfoort Zoo for the first time in twenty years and now we are welcoming meerkat pups again, just before the start of autumn,” says animal caretaker Marc Belt. “This loving Meerkat couple has really bonded and that's special: meerkats are very picky when it comes to choosing a mate.”
“For meerkats to form a breeding pair, there must be a strong click between the two before they land on a pink cloud. A pregnancy lasts about 2.5 months in these animals. At birth, the young are initially blind, deaf and bald. After about ten days, their eyes and ears open and they explore the world. When mother goes out in search of food, the rest of the group babysits the young meerkats. They are very caring animals,” says Marc.
The birth of another four meerkats is hopeful. Marc: “The two seem to be a good match, so I hope that this 'birth wave' continues and that we can welcome even more young meerkats to Amersfoort Zoo.”
Zuzu has done it again: The head of the meerkat group at Schönbrunn Zoo had offspring for the third time on July 25th. This time it's just a cub. This is unusual because there are usually two to four young animals in a litter. For the little one, however, it is definitely an advantage. “The young animal is really round. It finally gets all of the milk. In addition, as an only child, it enjoys everyone's full attention. The older sister Chimara likes to look after the little one and is also a playmate, ”says zookeeper Nadine Bräuer. The young animal was born in a protective cave in the earth - only about 30 grams in weight, blind and completely helpless. It is now big enough to accompany the group of seven on their forays through the area.
Meerkats live in the savannas and semi-deserts in southern Africa. Zoo director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck researched African reptiles as part of his doctoral thesis in the Kalahari. He got to know meerkats as cheeky guys. “They kept sneaking into our tent to steal reptiles or our own food,” recalls Hering-Hagenbeck. Meerkats are small predators. The young animal, whose sex is not yet known, was suckled in the first few weeks. It is now eating insects. Meerkats are known for standing upright on their hind legs to keep an eye out for birds of prey and other dangers. Even the little one can do it like a big one with its four weeks.
After more than twenty years, three meerkats have been born at Amersfoort Zoo.
“A very special moment, because a meerkat birth is no easy feat,” explains animal caretaker Marc Belt.
“Before meerkats form a love couple, they have to like each other very much. After two decades there is a match between a male and a female and that now results in three youngsters that are doing very well.”
These African predators have been living in the zoo for many years, but births have been delayed for a long time.
Meerkats are choosy in choosing their love partner.
There has to be a strong click between the two before they end up on a pink cloud.”
A pregnancy lasts about 2.5 months in these animals.
“At birth, the young are initially still blind, deaf and bald. After about ten days their eyes and ears open and they explore the world. When mom goes looking for food, the rest of the group babysits; they are very caring animals”, says Marc.
The birth of these three meerkats gives hope. Marc: “Love is in the air, so maybe we can expect more births soon.
Hopefully the park will be able to open its gates again on 11 May and visitors can come for a maternity visit in Amersfoort Zoo .
Taronga Western Plains Zoo has welcomed five Meerkat pups at a behind-the-scenes location to new Meerkat breeding pair, Howell and Midra.
Howell and Midra arrived at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Spring 2020 from two other wildlife parks. Following their introduction to each other, keepers observed lots of positive breeding behaviour with their first litter of pups being born on 23 November 2020.
As soon as the baby meerkats emerged from their den at Basel Zoo, their lessons at meerkat 'school' began. After all, practice makes perfect!
The tiny meerkat triplets peeked out of their den for the first time on 19 September. Their mother gave birth to them in the underground passageways four weeks earlier. The trio are now confidently darting around between the adults’ legs and watching everything they do very closely.
Venomous animals on the menu
The offspring were born after a pregnancy lasting just eleven weeks. Meerkats are carnivorans belonging to the mongoose family. They live in large social groups and can be found in the open, dry areas of southern Africa. They like to eat insects, snakes and other reptiles. However, they first have to learn how to catch them, a process that is not without its dangers. This is why baby meerkats go to ‘school’. Step by step, they follow the older animals and observe them looking for food and catching prey. Initially, they are given prey that is already dead, but later they learn how to catch venomous animals themselves and how to eat them safely.
Learning by imitating
Identifying dangers, whether in the air or on the ground, is a skill that has to be learned. There are up to 30 different sounds to learn. Baby meerkats learn by imitating the behaviour of the adults: they sit back on their hind legs and practice watching the sky attentively, just like their ‘teachers’. If there is any danger, the ‘watchers’ emit a cry of alarm and all the creatures disappear into the burrow.
Sleeping is the only thing that young meerkats do not have to learn to do, as after an exhausting day at school, they naturally cuddle up together and their mother wraps herself around them.
Basel Zoo is currently home to 14 meerkats of varying ages.