Experienced mother ‘Tilly’ welcomed five more offspring on 7 March 2015 with zoo keepers discovering them tucked up in the artificial termite mound nest box.
Senior Keeper, Sophie Dentrinos said: “The five youngsters have now left the birthing area and started to explore the outside world to the delight of Perth Zoo visitors”.
The new arrival join their three brothers and feisty sister which were born in November 2014, and who made headlines earlier this year during a daring attempt to escape their first veterinary examination.
“With nine youngsters under six months of age, our adult meerkats are definitely being kept busy,” said Sophie.
“This litter are particularly confident. With older siblings and attentive uncles, they’re hitting all their milestones and have already tested out solid foods and have been practicing the sentry stance which the species are famous for.”
Perth Zoo is part of the regional breeding program for meerkats, ensuring a future for the species in case numbers were to collapse in the wild.
“It is likely that when older, some of the kits will move to other zoos,” said Sophie.
“Tilly originally came from England, so her offspring may go further afield than Australian zoos, helping to educate the public about this fascinating species,” said Sophie.
Meerkats are native to southern Africa and can be found in the Kalahari Dessert.
They have adapted to living in very harsh conditions and climates, with little food, water and many predators. They have ears that can close in the event of a sandstorm and dark patches around their eyes to lessen the dessert glare like sunglasses.