Our small mammals are very special to us here at the zoo as they prove that every animal, whatever its size, is of value in our diverse eco-system. Our individuals here will also likely capture your heart when you hear their background stories, as many have come from unhappy situations. Which will you fall in love with?
Meerkats live in desert areas throughout most parts of central Africa, and in South Africa. A group of meerkats is called a "mob", "gang" or "clan". A meerkat clan often contains about 20 meerkats, but some super-families have 50 or more members.
Matilda, Mauve and Monica
Our Marvellous mob of 7 meerkats consists of 6 males named Clive, Neo, io, Peakat, Timone and Mushu, all between 1-2 years old, who came to us from Welsh Mountain Zoo, and 1 female named Mauve, 9 years old, who came to us from Tropical World, Leeds. As the only female in the mob, Mauve is the boss, as in Meerkat society females are the more dominant. In established mobs there can only be one alpha female, so Mauve’s sister ‘Monica’ lives separately with another male named ‘Andy’. Which one is digging, which one is sunbathing, and which one is on sentry duty when you visit?
Bennett’s Wallabies originate from the cooler regions of Southern Australia so are really at home in our climate. These gentle creatures spend their days casually grazing and relaxing in their social group.
Uluru, Alice, Dudley, Maruku, Wallace and Yulara
Our wallabies came to us from the wonderful Tapnell Farm, here on the Isle of Wight. We have Uluru and her daughter Alice. Two males, Maruku and Wallace, and little female Yulara to complete our happy mob.
Native to tropical regions of South America, these amazing creatures are true acrobats having the ability to climb up trees and back down head first, thanks to very flexible joints.
Born in 2006 Sattler came to us from an animal rescue centre, having previously been forced to work and kept in horrific conditions. With time and patience, our animal care team slowly gained his trust and gradually introduced them to enrichment to promote natural coati behaviour including climbing, socialising and foraging.
Originally from North and Central America, this species now has established and growing non-native populations in Europe and Asia.
Liberty, Otoo and Aala
Here at the zoo we have three beautiful raccoons: Liberty, born in 2011, who was an ex-pet from a private owner plus brother and sister duo Otoo and Aala, born in 2013 who joined her from Five Sisters Zoo. Otoo and Aala are very shy, whilst Liberty is very interactive. All enjoy dipping their toes in our water pool and washing their food, just as wild raccoons would do.
Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec
These animals live in the west and south-west regions of Madagascar in spiny forest. Naturally nocturnal, they look and behave just like the hedgehog and are therefore a perfect example of what scientists call ‘convergent evolution’.
Salt, Cinnamon and Nutmeg
Ten-year-old mum, Salt, came to us from Paradise Wildlife Park, then in 2011 along came Cinnamon and Nutmeg. Once you get through their prickly exterior, they’re all softies underneath!
These creatures live across central African countries, in areas of grassland.
Maui and Moana
Maui and Moana came to our animal family here at the Isle of Wight Zoo via a rescue centre, after private owners could no longer look after them. They are nocturnal and shy around humans, but are none the less deserving of a safe, forever home, which we are happy to provide.
Found throughout Europe, though sadly in decline in Britain, this engaging species is the gardener’s friend, as it munches its way through those species considered pests to a good vegetable crop.
This severely injured native wild hedgehogs came to the zoo from an Isle of Wight rescue centre. It is unable to be released back into the wild and so will stay safe with us for the rest of its days. This hedgehog helps us to educate visitors about positive actions we can all take to ensure better care of our native wild species.