Calling newly born meerkats "meerkittens"?
Well... they are actually pups, but we understand the desire to label them as kittens or an equally adorable word.
Meerkittens, meerpups, or meercuties: A quartet of tiny fluffsters was born on May 30 at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, meaning there are now eight meerkats in the mob (that's the word for a group of meerkattery).
Take a look now at these inquisitive youngsters, learn a bit more about their world, find out about the zoo's reopening (it may be July), and decide how hard your own heartstrings are about to be tugged...
"The Los Angeles Zoo is excited to announce the birth of four energetic meerkat pups, born on May 30, bringing the group’s total to eight meerkats in their mob," the zoo shared in a recent statement. "Conceived during the Zoo’s closure, the currently unsexed pups spent the first two weeks of their lives tucked safely inside an underground burrow with their mother while they nursed."
"According to animal care staff, the pups have recently emerged from below and are starting to explore their habitat and soak in the warm sun. The adult meerkats in this mob arrived at the L.A. Zoo in 2018 based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) program."
"It’s been fascinating to watch this mob of meerkats bond and create their social structure since their arrival a few years ago," said Rose Legato, senior animal keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo.
"Meerkat mobs can be fierce, so to see how this group has successfully come together to raise these new pups has been really exciting. We look forward to the public returning to the Zoo, so they can see these little pups in person as they explore and dig around in their habitat."
"These pint-sized members of the mongoose family have long since been a favorite for Zoo guests, perhaps because of their expressive personalities and constant digging and sunbathing around their habitat. But, what many people may not realize is that meerkats are very aware of their surroundings and are great communicators within their group."
"Since meerkats are prey to predators from both land and air, the mob is constantly working together to keep a lookout for animals such as eagles, hawks, and jackals. The group designs an intricate system of burrows, which they dig with their own long, sharp claws to keep them safe from predators, while also offering safety from the elements. The mob assigns a sentry, or a guard, to watch over the community and alert others of potential threats through a bark or high-pitched squeal."
"While the Los Angeles Zoo is closed to the public until further notice, the Zoo hopes to reopen in July, and guests will be able to see the meerkat mob and their pups on exhibit." Keep an eye on
the zoo's social pages to see when the reopening happens, and how you can see these lil' meerkats at play.