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Meerkats not 'simples' to keep warns expert

Dudley | News | Published:

They're cute, comical and charismatic – and are the latest craze in West Midland pets following the "compare the meerkat" insurance adverts.

They're cute, comical and charismatic – and are the latest craze in West Midland pets following the "compare the meerkat" insurance adverts.

But, left to themselves, miserable meerkats can turn nasty, warns an expert from Dudley Zoological Gardens.

And a Wolverhampton pet shop owner, whose sales of meerkats have rocketed due to the popularity of the lovable characters featured on www.comparethemarket.com adverts – with their catchphrase "simples" – agrees.

Jimmy Wick receives at least four requests a week from people eager to own a meerkat but says he will only sell in pairs or larger groups and only to pet owners with enough space and the right equipment to look after them properly.

A search on the internet shows scores of adverts for "baby meerkats for sale", with the going rate at £600 per animal.

But Mr Wick, aged 39, who jointly owns Wickid Pets, the exotic pet centre, in Gorsebrook Road, Wolverhampton, with 42-year-old brother Ben, said: "I try to put people off having them because they're not nice as pets and their smell is vicious. Also, if they are kept on their own they even harm themselves."

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