IN ANIMALS ON 12TH DEC 2023

Three Meerkat babies born at Fota named following Public Competition

Three Meerkat babies born at Fota Wildlife Park in September have been named.

Fota Wildlife Park unveiled three Meerkat (Suricata suricatta) babies who were born on the 19th of September to mother Biggy, and father Snaggle earlier this year and following public competition to help name them, three suggestions have been chosen by the rangers who look after the species.

The chosen names are Biggle, a combo of mother and father’s names, Biggy and Snaggle. Bing, which was suggested by a number of entries after Matthew Perry, and Bundi, after Bundee Aki, who impressively represented Ireland in the recent Rugby World Cup.

The winning entries were suggested by, Alan O’Leary from Ballinhassig, Catherine Murray from Kildare, and Mary Casey from Cork. Each have won an Annual Pass to Fota Wildlife Park.

 

Mum Biggy, who was born on St. Patricks Day in 2021, came to Fota Wildlife Park with two other females in May of this year from DierenPark Amersfoort, the NetherlandsThe dad, Snaggle came from Ardmore Open Farm to Fota Wildlife Park in July 2021 and is almost eight years old. All three females settled in well with Snaggle to form a new breeding group in the habitat they share with the Colobus monkeys, located just inside the main entrance to the Park. The last set of Meerkat babies were born in Fota in March 2013.

All three new meerkats are fitting in well with the mob and have been very active in their habitat inside the main Fota Wildlife Park entrance.

A favourite of visitors young and old, the Meerkat is a smaller member of the Mongoose family. Measuring up to 35cm in length and weighing up to 730grams, it has four long, strong claws on each paw to aid with burrowing and likes to stand on its hind legs from high vantage points when possible.

The Meerkat is a social and curious animal that lives underground in groups called mobs, gangs, or clans. Much of its time is spent digging and foraging for food including insects, roots, eggs, small reptiles, and scorpions – the Meerkat is immune to the latter’s poison unlike mankind.

Meerkats share the job of looking after their young. When born, the pups are mostly hairless and cannot see or hear. They generally open their eyes after two weeks and start to eat food other than milk a week later.