Hello, today we visit Krefeld Zoo. Ronald Melcher (caretaker): So, these are living grasshoppers and mealworms we are feeding. Insects are mainly fed alive in order to stimulate the huntring drive … Yvonne Wicht (caretaker): … because insects are the main component of their food. Mice and other small mammals they eat we only feed dead, of course, and never feed them when they are still alive. As you can see these three have settled down very well. Here with me you can see Toni, the male, who ist six years old and origins from Leipzig Zoo. The two girls there on the ground are called Traudi and Rosi. Traudi, who was born in April 2016, is older than Rosi, who was born in September, and both came from the animal park in Suhl in Thuringia. Meerkats actually eat almost everything: they eat small mammals, eggs – that’s why in their natural habitat they are not able to to leave some food, because there is such a little amount of food. No matter if there are insects, worms, bugs, spiders, little mammals, little birds, chicks – they plunder nests and they would even eat a flightless, larger bird. Sometimes we offer them a half of a dove or something like that. As I said before: They are no able to leave food in the wild. Toni is well-fed and goes back guarding. It’s droll, that one of the animals is usually split up to be a guard and observes in the air and the ground. Usually Toni is the guard. The installation was opened a bit more than a month ago and they adopted it very well and they love to dig, do some renovations and arrange the exhibition according to their wishes. There is always something going on here and as soon as they are outside some action happens here. Meerkats are mostly friendly in zoos, because they learn from the handling of their parents: they don’t have to fear the caretakers. and that’s why most of the meerkats in zoological settings are very, very domesticated an tamely. The reason why we are hiding the worms and the other food is enrichment. They don’t get only a feed bowl and eat, they have to look for the food and also play with it In nature it’s the same: there they also have to look for food. They spend the majority of their time to look for their food and collect it. She tries to in wth her head and look out above, but she can’t get in because of her rump. This is an advantage of the hard plastic balls – they have to work smarter to get their food.

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