Edinburgh Zoo's group of dwarf mongoose grew by three when they welcomed a trio of new arrivals earlier this month.
Doting dwarf mongoose mom and dad, Elvina and Elmo, are being kept busy with their adventurous offspring, the zoo said in a statement. The trio have quickly taken to exploring the different tunnels around their enclosure. This is their first litter of kits since the pair arrived at the zoo in January.
"It's great news for us that Elvina and Elmo have successfully bred already, after only arriving along with another male dwarf mongoose, Ernie, at the beginning of the year," said carnivore keeper Sharon Hatton. "We were hopeful that they would produce a litter this year, however realistically we thought it would take them a little longer to settle in, so it was a bit of a surprise … but a good surprise."
These playful and curious characters are incredibly social animals that can live in groups of between two and 20. In the wild, dwarf mongoose can be found inhabiting the dry grassland and bush lands of Africa. Small by name and small by size, these little creatures are usually around 7 to 11 inches (18 to 28 centimeters) in length and are Africa's smallest carnivore, as well as the smallest of the mongoose species.
"The three kits are now just over two months old, so it will be a little while before we can sex and name them," Hatton said. "These new parents are proving to be real naturals when it comes to rearing the kits and the whole family can often be spotted tucked up sound asleep near the front of their enclosure. The kits are definitely real characters and it didn't take them long before they were off exploring the tunnels and logs in their enclosure."