Hand reared meerkats blossom at ZSL London Zoo
Thursday 30 April 2009
A pair of baby meerkats who are being hand reared by zookeepers at ZSL London Zoo are blossoming - just in time for the summer.
Zookeepers took the Zoo’s latest additions, sisters Lia and Roo, into their care after their mother abandoned them.
The motherless youngsters soon got a new mummy in the guise of zookeeper Suzi Hyde, who has been caring for the duo day and night.
At first Suzi bottle fed the pair every two hours day and night, but has now reduced this to every four and the pair are thriving. Keepers are now taking it in turns to feed the youngsters so that they don’t become too attached to Suzi and will take food from other keepers too.
Suzi said: "They are doing very well; at first it was quite difficult getting up with them every few hours but now they are developing their own little personalities.
"Like any sisters they are very different; Lia is much more laid back than Roo, who is very mischievous and wants to play all the time - she has even started to stand up on her hind legs trying to do the famous meerkat 'lookout pose'."
As the playful pair grow up they will be joining the Zoo’s Animals in Action demonstration where visitors can meet and learn more about the different species at ZSL London Zoo.
Did you know?
- Meerkats, a member of the mongoose family, originate from the south of the Kalahari Desert in Africa.
- The animals which live in extensive burrow systems, feed on insects, small mammals, scorpions and snakes.
- In a mob of meerkats one of the group acts as sentry on a high vantage point, while the others forage for food.
- Black hair around their eyes enables them to scan the bright sky for predators and a variety of calls warns the group to hide when danger is near.