Wildlife Park Creates a Super Mario Bros. Game for Meerkats and It’s an Instant Hit

Shutterstock/Andrey Bayda

When you're lucky enough to work with animals, it's important to provide them with enrichment activities to keep them engaged and using their brains. Peak Wildlife Park is a zoo in Winkhill, United Kingdom, and they came up with a fun way to entertain their mob of meerkats. They created their very own rendition of the Super Mario Bros. video game, which was an instant hit!

Built out of wood and piping, the video starts with a zookeeper setting up the game in the meerkat enclosure. They use 'treats' (they look like mealworms maybe?) to entice the critters to crawl through the pipes and successfully complete the game. It would be fun to watch them go through it in person!

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The cutest part of Peak's video is when the meerkats are excitingly following the zookeeper to see what new thing he's putting in their cage. Other commenters like @jerry.wenzel noticed it too, "I love how they follow him trying to figure out what cool new thing does he have?!" Commenters got a kick out of the cool new game as well. @tucker.kj pointed out, "So even meerkat like to go up the down-staircase. And vice versa. What fun!" @ant.rex.collective got creative and shared, "Oh look! Some Mario-cats!" And I laughed at the commenter who added, "They are cheating LOL!"

Related: Overwhelmed Bulldog Looks Adorably Scared in Video Game Arcade

Can You Keep a Meerkat as a Pet?

Meerkats are adorable, and you might think having one as a pet would be fun, but these animals are not meant to be domesticated. Another Pet Helpful article shares that technically you can have one as an exotic pet but there's a big but to consider, "Most species that are available and survive in captivity can be privately owned. Depending on one’s definition of a "pet," however, some animals don't fit the bill—and meerkats are a great example."

Why? Well, there are a couple of big reasons. These animals don't doesn't adapt well to traditional pet care standards of average people. They require a diet of mostly insects, and you can't just run to the grocery store to get them. They've got cats in their name, and many people get a false impression thinking that it would be like bringing a feline home. But they're actually not related to cats in anyway; they're a part of the mongoose family. Mongoose are known to be aggressive (I mean, they do kill cobras!) and attack quickly and viciously when they feel threatened. Same goes with meerkats; they'll attack when threatened or if they feel that their mob (a group of meerkats) is being threatened.

If you're in the United States, you're out of luck in snagging one (legally) as a pet. "Meerkats are a highly regulated species and are not available as pets in the United States. Captive-bred populations exist in Japan and parts of the United Kingdom. Here is a list of The 12 Coolest Exotic Pets That You Can't Own that are rare or nonexistent in private captivity in the U.S."

If you're a fan of meerkats, it's probably best to just head to a local zoo the next time you want to see them. They're not a cuddly animal that would welcome you home with open arms and there's really no reason to keep one as a pet.

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