Nashville Zoo announced the birth of three meerkats on July 11, 2018. This is the second litter for parents Calvin (age 12) and Victoria (age 10). The pair has been together for 3.5 years, but only just recently produced pups last August. This will bring Nashville Zoo’s total to 8 meerkats.
With the newest trio, Nashville Zoo primate area supervisor, Sabrina Barnes said this is a great opportunity for the three other siblings to learn how to take care of the young, so they will become great parents when they’re older.
“Victoria will spend a lot of her time in the tunnel with the new pups nursing them, but she will have to leave the tunnel from time to time to get food or water or just stretch her legs around the exhibit,” Barnes said. “While she is taking a much needed break from the pups, there is typically one other group member babysitting them.”
Meerkats rely heavily on assistance from the rest of the mob in caring for their young. These pups will stay at the Nashville Zoo to live in a family group. The average litter size for meerkats ranges from 1 to 6 pups and pups average 25-35 grams in weight when born.
In the wild, meerkats are currently listed as a species of “Least Concern” by the IUCN Red List. Meerkats live throughout southern Africa and are present in several protected areas, with no major threats at this time. Nashville Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for this species to maintain the captive population.
The Zoo attracts more than 980,000 visitors annually and is considered one of the top attractions in Nashville. Nashville Zoo is located at 3777 Nolensville Pike and is open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information about Nashville Zoo, visit nashvillezoo.org.