Taronga welcomes biggest meerkat litter ever

By AG Staff Writer 13 December 2016
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Six meerkat pups have been born at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, the biggest litter in the zoo’s history.

KEPPERS AT TARONGA Zoo received a pleasant surprise when resident meerkat Nairobi gave birth to six meerkat pups on 7 November – her third litter with dad Maputo, and the zoo’s biggest meerkat litter to date.

“We knew that Nairobi was bigger than she was during her previous pregnancies, but we definitely weren’t expecting six pups! Meerkats usually give birth to 3-4 pups, so mum certainly has her paws full this time,” said keeper Courtney Mahony.

The yet-to-be-named pups will have their sexes officially confirmed after their first veterinary examination next month, although keepers suspect there are three males and three females.


Image: Paul Fahy/Taronga Zoo

The pups have started to sample solid foods such as mealworms, wood roaches, fruit and vegetables, and the largest of the litter currently tips the scales at just over 140g.

“They are growing a bit slower than our two previous litters, but they’re still hitting all the right milestones and starting to show their own little personalities,” said Courtney. “The biggest pup is a boy and he’s definitely the most adventurous of the six. He’s the first out of the nest box each morning and the first one to explore new things.”

Courtney said mum Nairobi appeared relaxed and confident caring for her new arrivals – the largest litter of pups in Taronga Zoo’s history.

“She’s an incredible mother and seems to be taking it all in her stride. She’s so attentive to the pups and she’s getting lots of babysitting help from dad and her eldest daughter, Serati,” she said.

VIDEO: Watch mum Nairobi with the new pups