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Spring is always an incredible time at Cotswold Wildlife Centre but this year’s has proven to be particularly special as the popular Meerkat exhibit houses a new pup, the first birth of 2014.
The little meerkat weighed approximately 30 grams and although he was hidden away for the first few weeks of his life he’s now out and about in the outdoor enclosure and visible for new visits playing with his family. He’s proven to be very popular and the Curator at Cotswold Wildlife Park, Jamie Craig, said: “We have had great success with our Meerkats over the years. They’re such endearing creatures and are always a great hit with our visitors.”
It’s easy to see why they attract so many visitors, the creatures are incredibly sociable and have a unique family structure, especially when it comes to the way that they raise their young. Any newborn Meerkat will not just be cared for by its immediate family such as its mother and father, but by the entire family over the first few months. Meerkat pup’s are viewed as the most important member of the Meerkat family and are doted upon by every adult, each female Meerkat will provide milk for the pup and each adult will become somewhat of a guardian.
After approximately six weeks newborn Meerkat pups join the rest of the group and apprentice themselves to one of the adults who will teach them everything they need to know about how to live as a Meerkat. One of the most important tasks the little pup will learn is how to find and deal with food, especially as out in the wild some of their diet will include tricky things such as scorpions.
Some strange facts about Meerkats include being able to recognise each other’s voices, they have a matriarchal social system and the collective noun for Meerkats is a gang, clan, mob or comparison. The little pup is not yet named but he is in the enclosure to visit. His home is near the Bactrian Camels and he shares it with his family and two Porcupines.
Set in over 160 acres of beautiful parklands, Cotswold Wildlife Park has an amazingly diverse collection of species, many of which are endangered in the wild. The dedicated and caring Keepers are passionate about the animals in their care and the opportunity to share their knowledge with the public. To plan a visit, please visit the Cotswold Wildlife Park website: http://www.cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk.