Meerkat Ball Pool
Meerkat Toddlers Play in a Special Ball Pool
A few months ago, triplet baby meerkats were born at Drusillas Park in East Sussex. The fluffy trio have now reached the toddler stage and are becoming more and more playful each day. Zookeepers at Drusillas Park got creative with their enrichment programme and made the bouncy babies their very own version of soft play.
A ball pool was created in the meerkat enclosure as a special treat for their energetic toddlers. Buzz, Moonbeam and Apollo were ecstatic with the colourful offering and began curiously pulling balls from the bag before keepers even had time to set up!
Deputy Head Keeper, Gemma Romanis, said: “Here at Drusillas we like to do lots of different enrichment for our animals. We do this for a number of reasons, such as, encouraging natural feeding behaviours, increasing their behavioural repertoire and stimulating them both mentally and physically.”
“Varying the ways in which we deliver the food makes them work harder, just as they would in the wild. Enrichment is vital for every animal, so we try to make it as exciting and inventive as possible.”
“In this instance we coated the ball pool balls with meal worms and other tasty meerkat treats and they absolutely loved it. It certainly made dinner time a lot more exciting!”
The adults in the mob were a little more suspicious of the ball pool than their curious little ones and hesitated slightly at the back. Once they saw it was safe to approach, the entire family dived in and everyone played in the ball pool together.
Deputy Head Keeper, Gemma Romanis, said: “Our meerkats really enjoyed their soft play ball pool experience! It’s always a gamble with enrichment as to how well it will be received, sometimes you work really hard to create something nice and the animals turn their noses up at you and aren’t having any of it. But this was a huge success.”
“Everyone came to play in the ball pool, it was a great family activity – just like when we take our toddlers to a soft play area! Mum batted around a few balls for her toddlers and kept a careful eye on the activity. When a little tussle over a ball broke out, she was straight in there to split them up and make them play nicely.”