Twitter | @mamekoro51

Japanese Photographer Captures A Shy Baby Meerkat In Adorable Gallery

Dan 21 Aug 2019

We need to talk about baby meerkats. You probably didn't expect this when you woke up this morning. Neither did I, frankly. But seriously, I had no idea the baby animal kingdom could get this freakin' adorable.

You know meerkats, right?

Giphy

We'll go in-depth a little later, but all you really need to know is that Timon from The Lion King is a meerkat. I'm using a gif of the 1994 classic, because as far as I'm concerned, the 2019 CGI version never happened.

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They're super cute, right?

Twitter | @mamekoro51

This entire series of pics was captured by a Japanese photographer who goes by @mamekoro51 on Twitter. You can also check out their official site for more baby animal goodness.

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I need one.

Twitter | @mamekoro51

I'm pretty sure meerkats aren't an approved pet anywhere in the world, but just look at these things. All of these photos were taken at Inokashira Park Zoo in Tokyo.

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These guys are basically the main attraction.

Twitter | @mamekoro51

Animals as diverse as elephants, raccoons and leopards can be found at the zoo. The meerkat exhibit doesn't sound that exciting, until you realize how irresistable these little creatures are.

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So are they, like, raccoons?

Twitter | @mamekoro51

They main look fairly similar to trash pandas superficially, but meerkats are actually most closely related to the mongoose family. Like the mongoose (mongeese?), meerkats are small, but effective, carnivores.

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They run in gangs.

Twitter | @mamekoro51

No, seriously, a meerkat crew can be referred to as a "clan", "mob", or..."gang". One of these mongoose families can get pretty big. On average, they'll hang out in groups of 20 or so, but some gangs can have dozens more members.

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Lake cat?

Twitter | @mamekoro51

Meerkat is Dutch for "lake cat". But the origins of the meerkat's name are a bit murkier. It may have even come from the Sanskrit word "markaṭa", which means "ape".

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They're native to southern Africa.

Twitter | @mamekoro51

These roving meerkat gangs roam the warm southern tip of Africa, feasting on insects and other small creatures. Like the mongoose, they're immune to some types of venom, making them a formidable foe.

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They live underground.

Twitter | @mamekoro51

Owing to their small size, the safest place for a meerkat is an underground den. They're diurnal, meaning they sleep in their dens at night and do meerkat things during the daylight hours.

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They're good at standing.

Twitter | @mamekoro51

This baby meerkat is being propped up by its mom for a bath, but adult meerkats are also all about standing on their hind legs. They do this to stand guard for predators lurking nearby.

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They keep it in the family.

Twitter | @mamekoro51

Meerkats have been known to chill with their closest cousin, the mongoose. Researchers have observed them sharing burrows with the yellow mongoose, along with other species including the ground squirrel.

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They don't mind humans.

Twitter | @mamekoro51

Obviously, human habitation can threaten their habitat. But when humans intrude on meerkat territory, the creatures don't seem particularly alarmed. This has allowed them to be filmed and researched extensively.

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I want one.

Twitter | @mamekoro51

Revisiting the pet discussion, it seems that I'm not the only one to have this idea. Unfortunately, meerkats are a bit of a nightmare to keep as pets. They're known to bite and pee all over everything.

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They're social little chonkers.

Twitter | @mamekoro51

In addition to living in large families (sorry, "gangs"), meerkats have all kinds of cool vocal tricks. They have specific noises to communicate a wide range of messages to their friends.

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They can live for a decently long time.

Twitter | @mamekoro51

In the wild, meerkats have numerous predators and tend to live to be six or seven years old. In captivity, so long as they're well taken care of, they can live to be up to 14 years old.

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Those hands are...handy.

Twitter | @mamekoro51

The meerkat's long claws help them dig their extensive underground tunnel networks. They also assist in climbing trees and digging into the ground to find a tasty meal of insects.

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They're almost unbearably cute.

Twitter | @mamekoro51

The pièce de résistance of these pics has to be this series, in which a baby meerkat does an adorable impression of a person who's curious, but also super shy.

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C'mon out.

Twitter | @mamekoro51

The photos are great on their own, but I'd love to see an actual video of this encounter. I mean, can you imagine how precious this baby would look, creeping out on its tippytoes?

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It's just a little shy.

Twitter | @mamekoro51

Adult meerkats are fairly small creatures, so it stands to reason that their babies would be tiny. This little meerkat looks like it's maybe a foot tall at most.

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Meerkats are officially my new thing.

Twitter | @mamekoro51

There's a whole world of cute animals out there, but meerkats have shot to the top of my worldwide animal cuteness rankings. Just don't keep them as pets because, y'know, they'll pee everywhere.

h/t: @mamekoro51

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