Edinburgh Zoo has welcomed three new meerkat pups and they are adorable. Recently the young pups have begun to emerge from their burrow at the Meerkat Plaza habitat and are slowly beginning to learn to be meerkats.
Andrew Laing, an Edinburgh Zoo carnivore keeper said, “ Mum Queen and dad Ace are doing really well and are getting plenty of help from other members of the group to raise the pups as meerkats are actually cooperative breeders, which means that all adults within the group will help to care for the young.”
“Meerkats have a gestation period of around 11 weeks, so we didn’t have long to wait for them to arrive, but for the first three weeks of life they stay in the burrow being looked after by the adults. At around four weeks old they will start to explore outside of the den. It’s good to see them out and about learning how to catch their own food.”
Visitors love to meet these inquisitive creatures at the meerkat plaza habitat opened with the assistance of author, Alexander McCall Smith in April 2014. Here they can get great views of the mob through 20 metres of glass panelling running along the front of the enclosure. They can even sit on four large wooden benches alongside hand crafted meerkats which were carved by Iain Chalmers, a local chainsaw artist.
“The meerkats are always a favourite with our visitors, so it’s wonderful to see some new additions to the group. At only four weeks old the pups are settling in well and their individual personalities are starting to show,” added Laing.
Meerkats are the best known members of the mongoose family. Dry, open areas with short grass and sparse woody scrub in southern Africa provide a home for this species.
The Meerkat Plaza habitat has large rock features, caves and a heat pad with sandy areas for digging which mimic their natural habitat.
Photo Credit: Edinburgh Zoo