Too cute! Baby meerkat 'born out of wedlock' hand-reared at Exmoor Zoo

Ruth Doherty
Too cute! Baby meerkat 'born out of wedlock' hand-reared at Exmoor Zoo
Too cute! Baby meerkat 'born out of wedlock' hand-reared at Exmoor Zoo

Rex


A tiny baby meerkat is being brought up by staff at Exmoor Zoo in Devon after being rejected by his family.


Little Alexander was shunned by his family after being born out of 'meerkat wedlock'.

The youngster, who is named after famous TV ad meerkat Aleksandr Orlov, was born to subordinate female Sally. She became pregnant after mating with one of her siblings, a move that angered the matriarch of the zoo's 11-strong meerkat group.

In the wild it's normally only the leading alpha pair who mate. As such, they will reject or even kill any young that are not their own. This meant that Alexander had to be removed for his own safety.

Since his birth, keepers have been feeding him half a millilitre of milk every two hours and he is now gaining weight.

The next step will be to introduce him to solids such as scrambled egg and porridge. With Alexander unlikely to be accepted back into the colony, when he grows up he will join the zoo's education team.

Exmoor Zoo is one of Devon's biggest family tourist attractions, and is brilliant for kids. Billed as a 'contact-oriented' zoo, children get to meet the animals, join in the handling sessions, touch a snake, hold a spider, feed a wallaby and learn about the animals during talks and feed times.

A family ticket for summer 2011 for two adults and two children (under 16) costs £32.50. For more information visit exmoorzoo.co.uk.

See more cute zoo babies here:

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