THEY are fast becoming the nation’s favourite animal, and meerkats can now be sourced as pets by a Bedford exotic pet shop.
But Zak Owens, owner of Petzotix, in Castle Road says that the craze is no reason to take on the animals, and he will veto anyone who he feels has not done enough research or can not look after them properly.
He said: “As an exotic pet specialist we can source a variety of different animals from snakes and lizards to raccoons, armadillos and meerkats from suppliers although we are not licensed keep the exotic mammals on site.
“However I would never supply any animal to anyone who I didn’t think had done enough research first. Most of the people who purchase animals at the shop have owned exotic pets before and know exactly what they are doing.
“This is not about making money, this is about the welfare of the animals, and that comes first.”
Meerkats have become popular in recent years thanks to the Compare The Market car insurance adverts.
In the wild they live in groups and are very sociable meaning that anyone taking them on would need to own more than one.
Meerkats, which are native to Botswana, spend most of their days burrowing and digging and need fresh air, and space and company.
Owners who wished to keep their pets indoors would need to ensure that the animals had free reign of the house, and expect for them to behave as they would in the wild.