Mara and Little Jay are the proud parents of a new baby boy! Yet to be named, the new meerkat pup is 6 weeks old and is now leaving the nest causing all sorts of chaos amongst the other meerkats. The pup spent a few weeks inside with mum, this was to protect him and to make sure he was suckling properly. In the wild meerkats would bury and hide the pups underground, however the mob at Barleylands have their own indoor stable to protect them at night. At 6 weeks old he is now starting to find his feet, he still likes to be close to mum and the rest of the family and can often be found sleeping on top of mum or climbing on top of one of his four brothers.
Mum, Mara arrived at the centre in Summer 2020 after getting kicked out of her previous meerkat mob. She then met Little Jay in 2021. This is their second litter born at Barleylands and traditionally the head matriarch, or Queen as they are otherwise known, would normally give birth to 1-5 pups at a time. Meerkats are omnivores, like humans, which means they eat fruit and vegetables and small animals, their favourite thing to eat being meal worms!
The new pup has started to copy his parents by standing on his back legs. Known for this upright posture, mothers can actually nurse their young whilst they are standing! The reason for this upright behaviour is that the meerkats are looking for predators. The meerkats are watching the skies for birds of prey such as hawks and eagles. Our meerkats are safe in their enclosure but they still have this natural instinct. A few individuals will guard the group whilst the rest forage for food which takes up a large proportion of the day, as unlike humans, they have no excess body fat stores.
You can meet our meerkats every day at 12 o’clock as part of the meerkat talk; book your Farm Park Tickets Here . The Imperial Exotic team also offer a one on one experience with out cheeky meerkats inside their enclosure! Upon your arrival to the centre, your experience will begin with an introduction by one of our handlers who’ll provide you with a safety talk. You will then be invited inside the meerkat enclosure to say hello and learn about their behaviours, habitat and diet. You will also be able to hand feed the meerkats and potentially handle them as well! Find out more information here.