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3 meerkats await Honolulu Zoo debut in March

  • Video by Honolulu Zoo.

    Three new male meerkats are awaiting their public debut at the Honolulu Zoo after arriving Nov. 2 from the Toledo Zoo.

  • COURTESY HONOLULU ZOO
                                Three male meerkats are expected to be on public display at the Honolulu Zoo in early March after completing their 120-day quarantine. The playful animals arrived Nov. 2 from the Toledo Zoo.

    COURTESY HONOLULU ZOO

    Three male meerkats are expected to be on public display at the Honolulu Zoo in early March after completing their 120-day quarantine. The playful animals arrived Nov. 2 from the Toledo Zoo.

Three new male meerkats are awaiting their public debut at the Honolulu Zoo after arriving Nov. 2 from the Toledo Zoo.

Brothers Raphael, Leo and Mikey, who were born March 4, 2017, are being housed in zoo’s veterinary clinic until their required 120-day quarantine period is completed.

Zoo officials said the “rascal trio” is anticipated to be placed on exhibit in early March.

Meerkats, also known as suricates, are a type of small burrowing mongoose found in Southwestern Africa and are recognizable by their upright “sentinel” posture as they look out for predators, according to a news release. They live in rock crevices and large burrow systems of underground tunnels.

The animals forage in packs and primarily feed on insects, lizards, small snakes, rodents and birds and dig up succulent tubers to obtain water.

The population is not threatened and meerkats are found to breed year-round, giving birth to litters of three to seven pups. The average lifespan is five to 15 years in the wild and the animals have been known to live for more than 12 years in captivity.

Meerkats, made popular by Disney’s “The Lion King” and other movies and TV shows, are considered injurious wildlife in Hawaii, so the Honolulu Zoo is allowed to house only male meerkats to avoid any risk of the species getting established in the wild.

The three meerkats were provided to the Honolulu Zoo as part of a partnership with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and its Species Survival Plan.

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