Meerkats: Oh How I Love Thee..Lemme Count the Ways

5 Jan

One of my favorite animals?  Oh, this one’s easy.  Definitely the Meerkat.  I grew up in Columbus, Ohio…home to the Columbus Zoo.  Run by none other than the legendary zoo-man himself, Jack Hanna.  (All zoos pale in comparison, btw.)  Visiting the zoo during the school year was every kid’s right of passage.  The zoo…COSI (Center of Science & Industry)…the history museum, Slate Run Farm, Old Man’s Cave.  All on the list of Ohio annual field-trips, no matter the age or grade.

It was on one of these swell field trips that I had my first Meerkat encounter. It was also the same year that the monkeys formed a coup and commenced to throwing their doo-doo at the passer-bys.  I can’t remember what grade I was in.  I want to say it was 3rd or 4th.  Old enough to know better.  Old enough to read the signs posted all around the Meerkat estate: DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE TRY TO FEED THESE WEASELS!!  …or something to that effect.

So what’d I do?  That’s right.  I pulled a James Dean and chucked a handful of Smartie sweet-tarts in their general direction.  The mass scattering that ensued was enough to send me into a fit of laughter that nearly made me soil myself.  They were punching each other in the face like, “Gimme the candy, Leroy..or I’m gonna tell your Mama that I saw you out behind the grooming station yucking it up with Martha Beasley!”

I was so enthralled with their human-like interaction that I nearly became separated from my group.  And nothing is worse than a kid being separated from their group on a field trip at a place chuck full of wild and man-eating animals.

I suggest you visit your local zoo and spend some time hanging out with these kats.  If your zoo doesn’t have a Meerkat exhibit, ask to see the manager.  Here are some interesting tid-bits of knowledge:

*  A Meerkat pup only has his first 100 days to live in the lap of luxury.  After that, all bets are off and he’s left to fend for himself.  His mama is probably in a hole somewhere swilling martinis and watching her stories.

*  A group of Meerkats is called a “mob”, “clan” or “gang”.  Nothing like a mob ‘o Meerkats to get your blood pumping!

*  Meerkats can dig as much dirt as their own body weight in a couple seconds.

*  Young meerkats are so fearful of predatory birds that even airplanes will send them diving for cover.  Chickens!

*  The Alpha male dominates the group and has his pick of the ladies.  I wonder if they talk with lisps like the “Ladies Man”.

*  One of The Lion King’s (movie) main stars was Timon.  A smack-talking Meerkat.

That’s all for today, folks.  I feel chatty so I might knock out more than one post today.  You never can tell.


3 Responses to “Meerkats: Oh How I Love Thee..Lemme Count the Ways”

  1. Michael Cargill January 5, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    You’re on a roll at the moment.

    Ohio sounds brill, I may go there one day.


  2. Anna January 8, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    I do rather love meercats. Llamas are also quite fantastic.
    Have you ever been to Berlin zoo? That’s definitely worth a visit, it’s huge and full of awesomeness in the form of animals. And ice-cream.


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