My partner and I spent a lovely afternoon meeting meerkats!
These gorgeous little creatures can be found at The Animal Experience in Stretham Ely near Cambridge. They have 34 meerkats here, as well as a beautiful snowy owl, a pair of coatis, stoats, pythons, iguanas and lizards as well as a falcon and a few spiders which I did NOT want to see! I am way too phobic to even look at a bird eating spider let alone hold one, but if that’s your thing, you are allowed to do that! I held one of the snakes, and I really liked the feel of it, but not in a shoes kind of way!! I like the way snakes move, a slow smooth slither, and they’re really quite endearing. Some of the giant yellow pythons were just beautiful.
But nothing compared to the meerkat experience, where we sat in their enclosure with them, and fed them and let them scramble up and down our legs. They were adorable. Some of these photos have an orange glow because meerkats need warmth and they like to bask in the heat of these special lamps making them feel right at home.
Meerkats are grazers and they need to feed about 15 times a day, making this experience perfect because they’re very excited with the dried meal worms come out – which visitors are given to feed them with.
Meerkats have a short life span in the wild living only 5 or 6 years, their lives cut short by predators, but in captivity they can live for nearly 16 years apparently! And no wonder – they are so loved and well cared for here.
Meerkats have black markings around their eyes which act like sunglasses in the wild, when the glare of the sunlight on the sand is so bright, the black colour deflects the light. Their fur feels like cat fur, and they are so soft, and they don’t mind being stroked at all.
In the wild they live in ‘mobs’ of about 20. They take it in turns to stand on sentry duty on the watch for predators. If they spot danger they give out a warning whistle to the rest of the ‘mob’. Meerkats have very strict sex rules, and females are only allowed to mate with males in their own mob; when they stray, if caught, they are ostracised and banished forever. New ‘mobs’ are formed when these ‘rebel’ females give birth to their own pups with their alpha male mate.
At The Animal Experience you can also hold some of the snakes:
Here’s a picture of the snake we held.
Here’s a picture of one of the ones we didn’t hold!!
If you’d like to spend an hour or so with the meerkats, book your experience HERE!
Money truly well spent, and a really entertaining, educational and individual experience. The staff here know and love their animals, and are more than happy to impart their knowledge and answer any questions.