Meerkats: They're Cuter Than Sloths
Here, proof that these small relatives of the mongoose have supernatural cheer-up qualities.
By Amy Shearn
Photo: Flickr User rofanator
Cats are cute. Sloths are super
cute. But on those really dark days, those bluer-than-blue days, when your boss sends you off with a "Do it over," someone lets the door slam in your face in the exact moment that your paper shopping bag disintegrates and then even your cheer-up hot cocoa explodes in the microwave, you need something more. You need meerkats.
They Wear Eye Shadow
Those big dark eyes. That head-furze. The ears
. Makes sense that this baby meerkat is taking cuteness seriously—these animals reach maturity at age 1, so they have to maximize their youthful good looks while they can. Flickr user rofanator knows how capture meerkat action.
They Look Thoughtful
Listen, you floppy bunnies out there, look at that adorable meerkat posture
. So alert, like a little A+ student.
Photo: Flickr User Chester Zoo
They Have Mona Lisa Smiles
"Hey, girl. I'd like to ritually groom you. Come join my foraging party
. I'm no roving male. Trust me."
Photo: Ashleigh Thompson, Wikimedia Commons
They Form Gangs
Meerkats, like this group from the Auckland Zoo
in New Zealand, live together in colonies of 20 to 30. When they see reunite after a separation, they lick one another's faces. Cute points: 1,000.
is probably standing sentry so the others in her colony can forage, but doesn't it look like she's just mincing about? "What? This old fur? Why, I only wear this when I don't care how I look!"
Recipe for a rough day: Look at this picture of a triple cuddle at the Melbourne Zoo
. Imagine you're the middle meerkat. Repeat as necessary.
Photo: Suzanne Bolduc, Wildlife Conservation Society
They Take Fun Seriously
The scampering clan at Brooklyn's Prospect Park Zoo
stays frisky with toys like a boomer ball. Get this: In the wild, some meerkats will stand sentry while the others play, so they don't have to be all distracted worrying about getting eaten. Do you know anyone who makes playfulness such a high priority?
Photo: Flickr User Northern Soul
They Model Confidence
Meerkat young are known to show off. Here, a couple of pups at the Butterfly House in South Yorkshire, England, chew the scenery.
Check out the rest of Northern Soul's Flickr photo stream for even more baby 'kat snuggles.
Photo: Flickr User Matt Biddulph
They Nap Standing Up
Well, at least this teensy infant meerkat seems to be napping standing up. Either way, our response is, "Awww." P.S.: Matt Biddulph has lots more zoo-animal cuteness on his Flickr photo stream
Photo: Flickr user Prolific IT
They Are Deep
This noble view of our favorite mongoose relative suggests that not only are meerkats darling and fluffy, they also have big, dreamy thoughts. (Okay, maybe they are just always on alert.) Dave Jackson's Prolific IT photo stream on Flickr
is full of bright lovely animal pics like this one.
Photo: Flickr User johnb/Derbys/UK
They Give Piggyback Rides
Meerkats babysit one another's offspring. And sometimes a meerkat that has not had a baby will lactate to feed another's young. I mean, wouldn't you? Look at that little buddy. John Bennett has many moments of meerkat cuteness on his Flickr photo stream
Photo: Flickr User rofanator
"Could we be cuter?"
"I don't know. I guess we could put on beanies..."
"Okay. But let's cuddle more first."
Thanks rofanator, for capturing the cuteness at Tropical World in Leeds, England, and sharing via Flickr
They Keep it Real
How can I guarantee that meerkats lower your blood pressure? Because my kids and I visit the crew at the Prospect Park Zoo
, where I took this picture, almost weekly. Usually the frisky meerkats are racing around, but sometimes one of them just sits around and stares right into your eyes, like, "What?"
Next: How a Hong Kong alley rat changed a young couple's life