Local BBC Sites

Page last updated at 11:32 GMT, Monday, 14 September 2009 12:32 UK
Baby meerkats born in Bristol
Meerkats at Bristol Zoo Gardens
Meerkats are only found in Southern Africa, in places like Namibia and Botswana

Four tiny baby meerkats have been born at Bristol Zoo Gardens and they are already proving a hit with visitors.

The youngsters, now a month old, have just started to venture out of their heated hutch to play and have been making the most of the sunny weather.

Keepers have been keeping a close eye on the tiny quadruplets, which weighed around just 30g (0.1lbs) at birth.

The meerkats have a varied diet, including crickets, locusts, mealworms, fruit, vegetables, eggs and mice.

We should know if they are males or females in another month or two
Matt Webb

Bristol Zoo's overseer of small mammals, Matt Webb, said: "The babies were tiny when they were born, with very little fur and eyes tightly closed.

"They are still too small to sex but we should know if they are males or females in another month or two.

"They are still feeding from the adult females, but have recently started eating solid food and will become fully weaned in the next few weeks."

Meerkats live in groups of 10 to 20, called mobs or gangs.

The group work together, with each member taking on special duties such as looking for food, acting as a 'lookout' or minding the youngsters.

They all work together to defend their territory and raise the young - all four adult meerkats at Bristol Zoo have been sharing in the babysitting of the youngsters.

Meerkats are carnivores and in the wild they prefer to eat small birds and reptiles, but more often they survive on plants and invertebrates.

In the wild meerkats will even eat snakes and scorpions.




SEE ALSO
In Pictures: Meerkats at Longleat
10 Sep 09 |  Nature & Outdoors
In pictures: Blackpool's meerkats
02 Sep 09 |  Nature & Outdoors
Baby meerkats are an online hit
19 Aug 09 |  England
Drain workers spying on meerkats
21 Jul 09 |  England
Meerkats 'not very good as pets'
01 May 09 |  England

OTHER RELATED BBC LINKS


BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific