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Mystic Meerkats return for Euros 2024

‘Mystic Meerkats’ keep the faith and predict England win for Slovakia clash

Pundits and fans may have given England’s Euros performance a lukewarm reception so far, but a group of ‘psychic’ meerkats in Sussex believe the team has what it takes to turn things around – and they’re firmly backing England to win in Sunday’s round of 16 match against Slovakia.

The ‘Mystic Meerkats’ of Drusillas Park became an internet sensation in the last Men’s Euros in 2021, with a perfect prediction record, and keepers are hoping they maintain their winning streak, with another correct forecast for this weekend’s crucial clash for Gareth Southgate’s team.

The special method involves two buckets of worms (a meerkat delicacy), each with a team's flag on. The buckets are placed down before the meerkats are released and left to choose which bucket they would prefer to eat from. The bucket surrounded by the most meerkats is then declared the predicted winner.

Some pundits have perhaps unfairly labelled England’s form so far in the tournament as ‘boring’, but the meerkats had other ideas, and gave the Three Lions a firm vote of confidence from the get-go. Dozens of little meerkat bottoms were sticking out of the England bucket almost immediately, with the meerkat gang suggesting that England could be celebrating a return to form and a definitive win on Sunday.

The ‘Mystic Meerkats’ have been predicting football results since the last men’s Euros in 2021, and also correctly predicted the Lionesses’ results right the way up to last year’s World Cup final. The team at Drusillas are hoping their tradition will bring England luck once again. Keepers say the meerkats now recognise the buckets and run excitedly to get involved, with lots of happy chirping sounds as they choose which bucket to feast from.

Although it might seem a strange activity for meerkats, the activity forms part of the zoo’s daily enrichment programme, which makes sure all the animals enjoy a diverse diet in imaginative and unusual ways. The activities encourage them to think and work for their food, like they would in the wild - and it's now become a bit of a tradition at the zoo and the meerkats run over excitedly when they see the buckets.

Senior Keeper Freya Grayson said: “Whether you are superstitious or not, the meerkats have a pretty impressive track record with their predictions so I’m choosing to believe in them! We’re big football fans here and are so proud of the England team, so it would be amazing for England to win as the meerkats have predicted."

Freya continued: “It seems like the meerkats are pretty certain England have got what it takes to go all the way. With no messing around they all seemed to choose the England bucket and Slovakia barely got a look in! Even after the food was all gone, it was a struggle to coax them back out of the bucket, they were so eager to pick England they even knocked that bucket over! So we think that means they are very sure and a change in fortunes for the Three Lions could be on the cards.”

Keepers have everything crossed the meerkats are correct and England will be celebrating a win on Sunday.

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