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07 17/07/2015

Four playful meerkat pups born

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  • Feature - Meerkat

A lively quartet of meerkat pups have taken their first steps out into the sunshine.

Meerkat pups at Chester Zoo
Four tiny meerkats, born one month ago, have made their public debut after emerging from their burrow.

The curious newcomers made their first public appearances after being burrowed away since being born on 11 June, following an 11 week gestation period.

Keepers at the zoo have not yet determined the sexes of the pups meaning each of the fantastic foursome has yet to be given a name.

David White, team manager at the zoo said:

It’s great to have some lively new additions amongst our mob of meerkats. At only a month old it’s too early for us to confirm their genders but we’re pleased to say the pups are doing very, very well and are settling in nicely with the rest of the gang.

They’re quickly learning how to forage for food and are spending lots of time grooming and playing together – activities which encourage the family to stay a really tight unit.

Meerkats are native to South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Angola and inhabit open country and sparse woody scrublands, feeding mostly on invertebrates.

Meerkat pups at Chester Zoo
Meerkat pup born at Chester Zoo

Meerkat facts

  • Once the zoo’s keepers have determined the sex of the pups, they will then decide on names
  • Meerkats are native to Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa
  • Most meerkats live in underground burrows in large groups of around 30 individuals called a gang or a mob
  • Meerkats have scent pouches below their tails and will rub these pouches on rocks and plants to mark their territory
  • They have dark patches around their eyes that act to cut down on the glare and help them see far into the distance
  • Meerkats have four toes on each feet and very long, non-retractable claws to help them dig
  • Meerkats can close their ears to keep dirt out while digging
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