Meerkat Babies Born at London Zoo
Wednesday 9 August 2006
One of London Zoo’s resident meerkats, Jenny, who was born here in 1997, has given birth to four “kits” or “pups” which first poked their heads out for the public to see this week (Weds).
Visitors have been delighted by the antics of the four, one of whom is bolder than the rest and can be seen following mum and dad around the enclosure.
The meerkats are part of London Zoo’s Happy Families exhibit, which also includes families of oriental short-clawed otters and ring-tailed lemurs.
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Notes to editors
- A group of meerkats, Suricata Suricatta is called a "mob" or a "gang" and in the wild there are usually five to thirty members.
- They are extremely helpful animals and various other adults will babysit the youngsters while the mother feeds. One adult can almost always be seen famously ‘keeping watch’ over the group from on high. The Zoo’s enclosure has a two metre high ‘termite mound’ in the centre so that the meerkats can observe the surrounding area just as they would in the wild.
- At this early stage, the kits stay near their burrow with a parent member or babysitter until they are old enough to dig, and search for food with the adults.
- The kits were born underground, where they stayed for the first two or three weeks of their lives. They still retreat to their cosy, dry downstairs dwelling during cold or wet spells of weather.
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