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Last Updated: Sunday May 03 2009 12:20 GMT

Warning against meerkats as pets

Meerkats

Find out why meerkats can be problem pets

A popular TV advert featuring a talking meerkat with a Russian accent has sparked a warning from wildlife experts that the animals don't make good pets.

The number of people visiting meerkats in zoos has rocketed since the adverts hit our screens.

Now experts fear more people are buying them as pets without realising how hard it is to look after them properly.

Meerkats usually live in large groups in southern Africa, where they dig huge networks of burrows to run around in.

Meerkat breeder Gareth Welsh said: "Unfortunately, meerkats need to dig. you can't keep them in cages.

"They need quite a bit of looking after and they're not good as pets."