Mobbed by Meerkats

P1060692We all had requirements for our ’round-the-world trip.

For Dad: a road trip around New Zealand.  In progress.
For Mom: New Year’s Eve in Sydney.  Check.
For Delaney: a week in London.  Done.
And for me…

A meerkat encounter in Wellington, New Zealand.

“It tickles, it tickles!” I quietly shrieked.  Meerkats scurried underneath the sack that covered my legs.  Cameras were clicking away, even from those who weren’t in the encounter.  Next to me was a five-year-old girl with her grandmother, Dad to my left.  We were in a cute, African-inspired enclosure filled with a mob of meerkats.

This is my version of heaven.


“Smile,” Mom said.  I turned toward her and managed to get a meerkat on my lap to look at the camera.  Meerkats crawled all over me, trying to eat the grass on my lap or burrow in my ears.

“Meerkats are from the mongoose family,” the zoo employee explained.  I know, I thought.  I also knew that they are found in Africa’s wild deserts and grow to be 9 to 12 inches…and that meerkats weigh up to 2.2 pounds, females typically larger than the malesand that a group or family of meerkats is called a mob.  I knew all this from research I’d done after discovering the show Meerkat Manor.  “They’ll try to burrow in your nostrils or ears if you let them,” continued the zoo keeper.

I let a meerkat play with my hair, and I rubbed one’s back.  Why are meerkats just so cute?  You tell me.  My 30 minutes enjoying the precious meerkats ended too soon.  I stood up, the meerkats jumping out of my lap.  I said goodbye to all of them, not wanting it to end.

The only thing that could be better than a meerkat encounter in a zoo, is one in the African wild.


  1. Raechel Schultz · · Reply

    Everything you guys are doing sounds like so much fun!!


  2. Aww Riley those animals are so cute! I am so happy you got to see them!! I remember when I was at ur house we would look at Meerkats on you computer!!! I love reading all your stories. Can’t wait until you get home!! Luv you😘


    1. Thanks for the comment! It’s time for you to go to bed!!! Miss you!


  3. Pam Carter · · Reply

    Why are meerkats so cute? First thing that came to my mind when I looked at the pic where you are looking in the same direction…..they REMIND ME OF YOU!


  4. sally moon · · Reply

    riley that is so totally cool!!! now thats on my bucket list!! xoxo to all of you, moon family


  5. So glad so were able to check this off your bucket list. Your dad didn’t appear to be having half the fun as you.


    1. Some meerkats were attempting to climb up his shorts when he wasn’t looking!


  6. Michael Jones · · Reply

    Wow Riley! How many kids (or adults) can say that they have petted Meerkats? Nice job reporting on your wild life encounter.



  7. Melissa Baum · · Reply

    Well I guess we better start planning! We want to be in a meerkat mob in Africa with you!


  8. Sanderlin Holmes · · Reply

    I am so enjoying your adventures…! I will carry your bags next year…


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