Following the arrival of two young females at the Debrecen Zoo’s meerkat gang back in April, we have further great news involving these ever-curious visitor favorites as today a healthy offspring emerged from a relatively recent and suspiciously large and well-guarded burrow.
Yet to be sexed, the little one is about two weeks old and, although it is sure to remain by its caring mother’s side for a while, visitors will get to see how Hungary’s youngest meerkat is getting more and more familiar with its environment as soon as the autumn holidays starting tomorrow.
Native to the savannahs and drylands of South Africa, meerkats or suricates (Suricata suricatta) are small predators feeding mostly on insects, smaller mammals or nestlings and, occasionally, bulbous roots.
They search for food during the day and spend the night in burrows dug with their strong foreclaws, living in gangs of up to 30 individuals per burrow system. Since they have a fair number of predators in the wild, both mammals and birds of prey, at least one gang member is always on the lookout, monitoring the landscape and sky while standing erect on its hind legs and warning the others with bark-like calls.
Although the Debrecen Zoo’s gang faces no such dangers, they too are an excellent example for meerkats’ team spirit – especially so when rearing the newborn together in the upcoming months.