Mystic Meerkats tip Lionesses for quarter final win
The now dubbed ‘Mystic Meerkats’ at Drusillas Park in Sussex correctly predicted the result of this week’s Round of 16 England World Cup game against Nigeria, and keepers have asked them to employ their ‘psychic’ powers again for the quarter final game this weekend against Colombia – and the meerkats think the Lionesses are going to take it!
The special method used involves two buckets of tasty treats - 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 declared the predicted winner.
The ‘Mystic Meerkats’ have been predicting football results since 2021, and last year the mob correctly predicted the Lionesses’ results all the way to the Euro 2022 finals when the ladies brought it home – and they 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.
Zoo Section leader Claudia Farley said: “Whether you are superstitious or not, the meerkats have a pretty impressive track record with their predictions so maybe they know something we don’t! It’s now become a tradition here at the zoo and this year even our new baby, Reggie who is only a couple of months old, was in on the action too. We’re big football fans here and are so proud of our Lionesses, so it would be amazing for England to win as the meerkats have predicted."
Claudia continued: “Sometimes they take a while to settle on a decision, but today they almost immediately focused on the England bucket, with only a couple of sniffs for Colombia - they even knocked the England bucket over, so we’re going to take that to mean a very confident decision!”
Let’s hope they are correct, and the mystic meerkats can work their charms and predict more games as the tournament continues.