10/12/2014

Bristol Zoo welcomes baby meerkat triplets to the family

Bristol Zoo welcomes baby meerkat triplets to the family

Meerkats most commonly have between one and five pups per litter, but three or four pups is average. The triplets are currently too young to be sexed so are yet to be named. At just over two week’s old, the babies weigh just 40grams.

The triplets were born on the 12th September to Babushka. The triplets are her twelfth litter, making her a very experienced mother to handle her demanding new brood.

Meerkats most commonly have between one and five pups per litter, but three or four pups is average. The triplets are currently too young to be sexed so are yet to be named. At just over two week’s old, the babies weigh just 40grams.

The new arrivals brings the number of lively meerkats homed at the Zoo up to 27.

Meerkats are sociable animals, living in large groups. The colonies are close-knit, with each meerkat taking on special duties e.g. sentry, baby-sitter, and hunter, to benefit the group as a whole.

Lynsey Bugg, assistant curator of mammals at Bristol Zoo, said: “The triplets have spent their first couple of weeks safely snuggled up with mum or another designated ‘babysitter’, most often somewhere quiet like a nest box or in the tunnel system of their enclosure.

In the wild, pups would not emerge from a burrow until they were two-three weeks old. Mum will feed them frequently but the whole group should help to keep them safe and warm and they are commonly found at the bottom of a huddle.”

The triplets can be found in the Zoo’s 'Meerkat Lookout', which boasts plenty of space and enrichment opportunities for the animals. One of its main highlights includes undercover viewing areas, a viewing dome and a tunnel for visitors to get up-close to the animals at eye-level. The exhibit also benefits from warm rocks to provide localised heating for the meerkats, as well as large sandy areas for them to dig and forage, and off-show sections where they can rest and sleep. 

Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work in the zoo, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents.

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