Mongooseness Gracious Me!
Wednesday 2 October 2002
The keepers at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park's Discovery Centre are currently hard at work with Stitch and Sew, two-baby dwarf mongoose who are being hand reared before they are returned to their social group
The two youngsters are approximately four inches in length and are now the proud owners of a lovely smooth brown coat.
The tiny youngsters were born on Wednesday 4 September, but had to be removed after they were rejected by their mother and the group, resulting in one needing stitches; hence his name. At birth both Stitch and his sister Sew weighed in at 13g, and had to be fed every two hours with a special puppy milk, eventually progressing onto a four hourly diet of milk and small soft chicken pieces in a vitamin supplement. As they continue to grow in strength they will move onto mincemeat, fruit and small insects.
Robbie Hutton, Head Keeper at the Discovery Centre who has overseen the hand-rearing of the two dwarf mongoose said, "Dwarf mongoose are very hard to hand rear, therefore watching Stitch and Sew both grow stronger with each day has been very rewarding, if not a little tiring at the beginning with their constant need for food. We are now confident of a gradual but successful re-introduction back into their feisty little family group."
The Discovery Centre at Whipsnade gives visitors the chance to explore desert, marine and rainforest habitats but also to see conservation taking place within the Conservation Room. Currently residing in the cosy surroundings of an incubator, Stitch and Sew can either be found playing with toys or snuggled up to their red comforter asleep and when they aren't playing or sleeping, it would be safe to hazard a guess that they're eating again.
Found in the savannah and mountain scrub of Ethiopia, Angola and Eastern South Africa, the mongoose will usually build a nest in an old termite mound giving birth to between one and seven live young following a gestation period of between 49 and 56 days. Social in structure, usually with a dominant female, other members of the group will often help care for the young creating a crèche while the parents hunt for food.
Notes to editors
- Dwarf mongoose are omnivores, in the wild eating insects such as spiders and other small vertebrates
- Baby mongoose will open their eyes after approximately 10 days
- In the wild the dwarf mongoose are prey to birds of prey and small cats
- Stitch and Sews parents were both bred at London Zoo moving to Whipsnade in 1989
- There are currently six dwarf mongoose in the group at Whipsnade
- Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity: our key role is the conservation of animals and their habitats. ZSL runs London Zoo and Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, carries out scientific research in the Institute of Zoology and is actively involved in field conservation in other countries worldwide.
For further information please contact the ZSL Press Office:
Leana Rochman, Press Officer
Tel: 020 7449 6361
Out of office mobile: 07889 043843
— ENDS —