Meerkats thrilled with some early Easter presents | Photos, Video

EASTER came early for the meerkats at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, who were absolutely thrilled with their gift of four papier mâché Easter eggs.

Visitors flocked around the meerkats' new exhibit on Friday morning as the little critters ripped into the brightly painted eggs, intent on getting their hands - and mouths - on the delicious mealworms inside.

"They have absolutely loved them actually," keeper Dee Woodhouse said.

"Today is their Easter special. They've gotten four little papier mâché Easter eggs and we've filled them with some mealworms as a treat.

"So they've ripped them apart and dug them around and they're still playing with them now even though there's no mealworms left."

Human families watched on as 11 meerkats - mum, dad and nine kids - scurried about in the sand, digging holes to nestle the eggs in while they tried to tear their way inside.

Judging by the growling, pushing and shoving, some of the meerkats were better at sharing than others, but Ms Woodhouse said it was all a part of the frequent enrichment activities the keepers provide.

"It's really good for their mental stimulus so we try to stimulate them as much as possible," she said.

"And they're really good as a group so to give them a little bit of things to do as a group and bond together."

The meerkats' enclosure is still relatively new, having only opened to the public in December.

Ms Woodhouse said the meerkats are one the favourites at TWPZ, and will be a major drawcard this Easter long weekend and throughout the April school holidays.

"Definitely will, particularly in this new exhibit," she said.

"They'll hopefully be able to come down and have a look and if they're really lucky book in for an encounter as well."


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