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Meerkat Manor Season 3

Fridays, 8:30pm e/p - Animal Planet
Wednesdays, 8:00 PM ET/9PM PT - Animal Planet Canada

The Whiskers mob of Meerkat Manor
The Whiskers mob. Photographer: Chad Henning. © 2007 Animal Planet. All rights reserved.

Season

3 of nature's soap opera, Meerkat Manor, began Aug. 10, 2007, on Animal Planet. In Canada, the series begins Oct. 3, 8:00 PM ET/9:00 PM PT. Animal Planet UK concluded the season in September.

The Season Finale in the U.S. is Nov. 2, 8:30pm e/p.

Scroll down for episode descriptions.


In the works: A film, Meerkat Manor: Queen of the Kalahari. It should be released in 2008.


Season 4 is now filming in the Kalahari. Here's hoping for a happier year for the little charmers.


Fans can watch episodes at Animal Planet's Meerkat Manor Website

Meerkat Manor Season 3 is tremendously dramatic. Life in the Kalahari has many twists and turns. Be prepared to say goodbye to many of the beloved critters as several meerkats will not survive life on the manor. The new rivalries and mobs may mean a shift in power. We'll see which meerkats come on top and which fall by the wayside.

At the end of the second season, it looked like the Kalahari residents were about to endure a severe winter. Mozart's pups had been killed by the Whiskers' enemy meerkat tribe, the Commandos. Whiskers had to admit defeat by abandoning their home.

As the third season begins, the Whiskers stake new territory and are ready to start anew. Led by Flower, who is still the dominant female, the Whiskers face a new rivalry from the Zappa tribe, another meerkat mob best characterized as the neighbors from Hell. No stranger to a good challenge, the Whiskers are ready to stand their ground.


A couple of things to keep in mind about Meerkat Manor. There is almost a year between filming and broadcast. Season 3 began filming in November 2006. Filming is done only during the summer, beginning when a liter is born. The meerkats are not as active during the winter. It does get cold, below freezing. There is a drought in the Kalahari. Although the first rain of the season began October 2nd, there is no way of knowing if it marks the end of the dry spell. Lack of water and extreme heat does effect behavior and health. As we saw during Heavy is the Crown, stress combined with poor nutrition caused Rocket Dog to miscarry her first pup. Desert life is hard for all living things. Sometimes, animals just disappear, perhaps dying, perhaps moving on to a part outside the research range. The Kalahari Meerkat Project website lists mobs that have disappeared entirely, as well as those that have merged or splintered off from existing groups. Meerkat Manor is also television, a sort of reality soap opera nature documentary, which means footage is carefully edited to ensure their full impact, whether tragic, comedic, heart-warming, or dramatic. The show has forever changed what we expect from a show about wild animals. And, you have to admit, it has captured our emotions while teaching us about a land far away and creatures we knew little about, except as a sidekick in The Lion King.


Meerkat Manor: Flower of the Kalahari
By Tim Clutton-Brock
Pub. Oct. 4, 2007 - UK

Although this title was published in Great Britain and Canada, you may still order it for shipment to other parts of the world. I have ordered several books from Amazon UK and Canadwith great results and relatively short shipping time, just a little longer than from the East Coast to the West Coast of the U.S. However, a U.S. publisher should release it closer to the feature film's premiere.

The originator of the Meerkat research project, Tim Clutton-Brock, has written an engaging and informative book about these animals and what his research tells us about their world, a world which appears to mirror our own but is in fact driven by the sometimes savage instincts of self-interest and survival.

Meerkat Manor: Flower Of The Kalahari | UK (hardcover) | Canada (paperback) |


Meerkat Manor Season 3 Episode Guide

On Dangerous Ground (Ep. 301) - Aug. 10, 8:30pm e/p

We find the Whiskers trying to survive in a hostile new area after being evicted from their manor by the vicious Commandos. With danger at every turn and food being scarce, Flower decides to lead the family, including her newborn pups, on a perilous journey to find greener pastures. The gang runs into their new neighbors, the Zappa gang, whom they dispatch with some ease. However, during the fight Flower’s pups go missing.

The Mission (Ep. 302) - Aug. 17, 8:30pm e/p

Flower mounts a rescue mission to find her pups, who are lost in the heart of Zappa territory. It falls to Mitch to try to find the rest of the family and lead them back to the frightened pups. On his journey, Mitch runs into Mozart, who has started up her own group with her old flame, Carlos. But with the Zappa closing in on the pups, it’s a race against time.

Sister Act (Ep. 303) - Aug. 24, 8:30pm e/p

The Whiskers have settled into their new territory, but with the neighbors from hell living next door, they shouldn’t get too comfortable. When rival gang the Zappa discovers the whereabouts of the Whiskers’ babysitting burrow, a carefree day turns nasty for Flower’s newest pups Buster, Suggs and Izzy. And while the path for any new group is never straightforward, for the new mob, the Starsky, it’s been a very rocky road. With half sisters Mozart and Kinkajou both pregnant and vying for the role of dominant female, there’s bound to be trouble in store.

Death of Romance (Ep. 304) - Aug. 31, 8:30pm e/p

Carlos may have settled down with the Starsky, but it seems there’s a new Casanova in town. Roving male Houdini has a particular knack with the ladies and isn’t afraid of setting his sights too high. Having given birth, dominant female Flower is once again in her receptive period but will her head be turned by Houdini? Despite finding a new home, the Starsky’s triumph is short lived when tragedy befalls the Manor.

The Tale of Len & Squiggy (Ep. 305) - Sept. 7, 8:30pm e/p

At the Whiskers burrow, new life arrives as part of Flower’s second litter of the year. The Whiskers prepare the red-carpet treatment for twins Len & Squiggy. While Len enjoys the limelight, twin Squiggy is more introverted. Born with a deformed leg, Squiggy is going to require help from the family. Then, Rocket Dog is in charge of the group after Flower and some of the other Whiskers family members mysteriously disappear. Now, with the burden of leadership and Flower’s pups to consider, Rocket Dog is having a hard time. As things go from bad to worse when roving Zappa males plague the group, will the pups fall victim to the desert?

Sibling Rivalry (Ep. 306) - Sept. 14, 8:30pm e/p

The Zappa gang wake up to find that their dominant female Lola is missing. Lola, away from her family, is wounded and desperately is trying to recover and return home. Meanwhile, rogue Houdini decides to check out the females in the Whiskers tribe! And, Rocket Dog is trying to keep with Flower’s act, serving as the leading lady while Flower is away. Back at the Zappa manor, Lola makes her way back home, but her sister, Punk, seizes power and sets about turning the Zappa into a formidable force capable of taking on the Whiskers.

Heavy is the Crown (Ep. 307) - Sept. 21, 8:30pm e/p

With the Kalahari gripped by drought, the Whiskers family has been split for almost a month. In a desperate search for food, Flower returns with half of the group to their old manor. With their archrival the Commandos occupying the territory, it’s a risky venture. Left in charge of rest of the Whiskers is Flower’s daughter, Rocket Dog, who crumbles under the strain of her new leadership role. The first weeks for any new leader are the most troubling time – and it’s quite likely that she could be overthrown. And to add to the stress, Rocket Dog is pregnant for the first time.

Journey's End (Ep. 308) - Sept. 28, 2007

In a contest over land the Whiskers see off rival gang, the Zappa, but when one little trooper gets left behind the Whiskers are left with a tough decision. And it's the end of an era when tragedy strikes and the Kalahari loses its favorite rose.

Remarkably, Flower, Whiskers mob's dominant female, became an international star. She was as brave as they come, and as forceful in protecting her brood. Flower became the leader of the Whiskers in 2003, leading her close-knit family to dominance on the Kalahari. Sadly, it was her desire to keep her pups and mob safe that led to her death. A cape cobra had been on the prowl. Although the mob chased it away once, the snake slithered into the babysitting burrow. As the Whiskers mobbed it again, Flower as leader, pushed her way to the front, going down the hole. The cobra attacked, dealing a fatal bite on Flower's head. At age 6, Flower died.

The episode Journey's End followed the events leading up to the fatal bite. For four years as the Whiskers dominant female, Flower led her family through the Kalahari Desert, staving off predation and holding ground against tough rival clans. She may have come from humble beginnings, but during her reign, Flower’s family became the most successful group in the Manor.

"Flower's courage and strength in life was mirrored in her passing," says senior executive producer Mick Kaczorowski. "Viewers and fans have become attached to Flower because she exemplified the qualities of a true hero and a veritable leader. Throughout the 13-year Kalahari Meerkat Project study, Flower has been referred to as the most successful matriarch of her time. Her reign will always be remembered and admired."

In the Animal Planet press release announcing Flower's unexpected death, the network stated, "Playful in spirit and often controversial, Flower will be remembered as a formidable leader, noble mother and courageous meerkat. If the measure of a leader is the legacy she leaves behind, Flower's accomplishments are evident in the faces of the next generation of Whiskers. The death of Flower marks the end of an era for the Whiskers clan as they – and viewers – ponder over who will rise to the top and lead the family to further greatness.

Meerkat Manor is a popular family series. With so many children and adults attached to the Whiskers mob and Flower's strong personality, her death was a tragedyt. The actual cobra strike was not filmed because it was deep within the burrow. However, Flower, close to death, is depicted as she emerges from the burrow the next day, head swollen and in horrendous pain. Because of the sensitive nature of the episode, Mick Kaczorowski, the executive producer, hosted a one-hour chat immediately following the episode. Among his revelations was that Flower died around Jan. 27, 2007 and that she lived for less than 48 hours after the bite. Of course, questions were asked regarding why an antidote wasn't administered, and why she wasn't euthanized. The answer was quite simply that it wasn't known that Flower was so seriously injured until she emerged from the burrow the next day. By then, it was too late to save her through man-made efforts. Scientific reasons were also considered, including not tampering with the dynamics of the group with a much weaker member and messing with the gene pool. Nature was allowed to take its course. Kaczorowski also reminded chatters that Shakespeare had also received a venomous snake bite in season one, but had survived it, although this writer believes that might have been because it was a less poisonous puff adder. Kaczorowski further stated that these meerkats may be habituated, that is accustomed to contact with humans, but they are still wild animals, neither pets, nor domesticated. Nevertheless, delightful creatures.

There is a considerable outcry regarding a seeming lack of concern over Flower's snake bite. Please keep in mind that a cape cobra is one of the deadliest snakes in the world. Flower was only about 12 inches tall and sustained the wound in her head, near her brain, which controls the central nervous system. Even had filmmakers and scientists been immediately aware of the bite, it would have been difficult to save her life. The cape cobra's venom had been in her blood system for several hours before she emerged from the hole in the ground. Under those circumstances, a human being would have struggled to live, even with the large doses of anti-venom medicine required.

A New Day (Ep. 309) - Oct. 5, 8:30pm e/p

Flower's daughter Rocket Dog once again finds herself in charge of the Whiskers. But with her sister Maybelline showing signs of rebellion, and her father Zaphod unwilling to leave the group, the odds are stacked against the new leader.

Farewell, My Lovely (Ep. 310) - Oct. 12, 8:30pm e/p

The imminent change in season has forced Zaphod to finally leave the Whiskers. His efforts to get close to a potential mate at the Zappa are being hampered by dominant male Houdini. Despite the hardships Zaphod is determined to make a go of living alone.

Three Degrees of Separation (Ep. 311) - Oct. 19, 8:30pm e/p

The wide-eyed Whiskers pups are taken out on a foraging trip to learn about life in the Kalahari. At the Starsky, sisters Mozart, Kinkajou and De la Soul bravely search for a solution to their hard times but look in all the wrong places.

The Graduate (Ep. 312) - Oct. 26, 8:30pm e/p

While Wilson from the Commandoes introduces himself to a certain Whiskers lady, someone else makes a surprise return to the family. And there's hope for lone female Mozart when a young male turns his attention to her. But how long will his interests last?

A Family at War - Season 3 Finale (Ep. 313) - Nov. 2, 8:30pm e/p

With almost fifty in the family, group leader Rocket Dog is finding it tough to keep on top of everything. Maybelline tries to take matters into her own paws, but will she succeed in her quest for leadership?


The Meerkats of Season 3

A guide to who's who and who are the enemy of the Whiskers mob.

The Whiskers

Having come into existence in 1998, the Whiskers mob is at the heart of Animal Planet's Meerkat Manor. They are a family of meerkats struggling to survive in Africa's Kalahari Desert. At the beginning of season three, the Whiskers are trying to survive in a hostile new area after being evicted from their manor by the vicious Commandos. During the third season, the Whiskers continue to fight for their domain and encounter new rivalry – the Zappa tribe! Below are descriptions of key members of the Whiskers:

Flower

Dedicated dominant female of the Whiskers, Flower's no pushover. In her four years as the dominant meerkat, Flower has proved herself to be one of the most successful leaders at the Manor.

Zaphod

As the Whiskers' dominant male, Zaphod has been Flower's number-one choice of mate from the start, but as time wears on he's beginning to rest on his laurels. Can Zaphod's complacency leave the door open for others to pluck Flower?

Mitch

Eagle-eyed as ever, Flower's young pup Mitch proves he's the kind of meerkat to thrive when the going gets tough, having strong dominant male material.

Rocket Dog

Daughter of Flower, Rocket Dog is given the opportunity to show her leadership skills this season as she cares for the pups while Flower is away from the manor.

Axle

A Zappa pup who gets separated from his family during a ferocious battle and, amazingly, is adopted by the Whiskers.

Len & Squiggy

Len and Squiggy are Flower's newborn twin pups, the only pups of her new litter. While Len enjoys the limelight, Squiggy is a feisty little chap who is having a harder time as a result of a deformed leg. Squiggy is going to need all the help he can get to survive life on the Kalahari.

Scroll down for rival mobs.

Alert meerkats
Vigilant meerkats. Photographer: Chad Henning. © 2007 Animal Planet. All rights reserved.


The Zappa

The Zappa are the new neighbors from Hell who are approximately 14-strong. With the competition for resources even greater this year, they're proving they'll do whatever it takes to beat the Whiskers. Below are descriptions of key members of the Zappa:

Frank

Frank is the dominant male of the Whiskers' new archrivals, the Zappa gang. Frank has seen it all before and was a formidable leader, but now age isn't on his side. He may be past his prime.

Lola

Lola is the dominant female of the Zappa gang and Frank's partner. Lola is younger than Frank and has a short fuse when it comes to food.

Houdini

A rover and a chancer, Houdini rapidly rises to take Carlos' place as the bad boy. A part of the Zappa gang, this roving male has a particular taste for dominant females. Why eat McDonald's when you can have steak?

Punk

Sister of Zappa dominant female Lola, Punk has no time for weakness in others and will stop at nothing to get what she wants. She has ambitions of leading her own group, but as long as her sister is in charge, she will have to take a backseat. Watch this one – she has claws!


The Starsky

Evicted from the Whiskers family, Mozart, with Carlos' help, develops a new tribe – the Starsky. Smaller than the Whiskers tribe, the Starsky is somewhat formidable, with seven tribe members. The key members of the Starksy are:

Mozart

Perhaps the Kalahari's most misfortunate female, Mozart may finally start to experience new luck. Now part of new group, the Starsky, Mozart is no longer just a Whiskers castaway; she has a tribe of her own! Pregnant and awaiting her own litter of pups, Mozart is ready to expand her family and take hold of the dominant female role. But Mozart must watch out for half-sister Kinkajou, who also is pregnant by the studly Carlos. Kinkajou is making a play for the dominant female role as well!

Carlos

Once feared by many dominant males in the territory for his antics as a roving male, Carlos now is accustomed to his new role as a dominant male of his own group, the Starsky, with his old flame, Mozart. Renowned as the Kalahari's Casanova, Carlos may have lost his looks — he bears a scar as a souvenir from his fight with one-eyed Hannibal — but he hasn't lost his charm!

Kinkajou

Half-sister to Mozart, Kinkajou shares more in common with her sister than just a play for dominant female! She shares the attention of Carlos. Both sisters are pregnant by this Casanova.


Meerkats of the Commandos mob
The Commandos. Photographer: Chad Henning. © 2007 Animal Planet. All rights reserved.

The Commandos

Led by the one-eyed Hannibal and dominant female Nikita, the Commandos are one of Meerkat Manor's most fearsome gangs. Having killed Mozart's newborn pups at the end of season two, they continue to wreak havoc in the Kalahari. But with Hannibal's young son Wilson, soon to step into the spotlight, we may just see there's a softer side to this motley crew! Key members of the Commandos are:

Hannibal

Hannibal is the dominant male of the Commandos. Hannibal has a missing eye, and, like Flower and Zaphod, he is one the toughest meerkats in the Kalahari.

Wilson

Hannibal's son. At his coming of age, he goes roving. Will his new experiences set him apart from his vicious father, or will he revert to type?

Dr Tim being interviewed during Season 3 of Meerkat Manor
Dr. Tim being interviewed. Photographer: Chad Henning. © 2007 Animal Planet. All rights reserved.


Meerkat Manor Websites

U.S. Animal Planet Fan Site
Canada Animal Planet Show Site
UK site
Kalahari Meerkat Project


About Meerkats

The following is courtesy of Animal Planet, which was provided these facts by Meerkats.com. It is published here with permission. You may also wish to visit Animal Planet's website for discussion boards and other features related to "Meerkat Manor."

Standing tall at just 12 inches high, the meerkat is a small masked mammal that thrives in one of the hottest and driest places on Earth. A member of the mongoose family, this cute, precocious and highly social creature can be tough enough to kill a cobra.

Vision: Color - the dark eye markings act like built-in sunglasses.

Feet: Non-retractable claws.

Ears: Closeable.

Height: 12 inches.

Weight: Two pounds.

Light-Absorbency: Called the "Solar Panel of the Animal World," meerkats use their dark-skinned sparsely furred bellies to warm up.

Tail: Eight inches long and used as a tripod to balance the animal in an upright position.

Activity: diurnal (active during the day).

Lifespan: 12 to 14 years.

Society: A group of meerkats, usually five to thirty members, is called a "mob" or a "gang."

Home Range: Southern Africa/Kalahari Desert.

Dwelling: grass-lined burrows that are shared with ground squirrels and yellow mongooses.

Transience: Mob moves several times annually if food supply is depleted.

Competitiveness: Meerkats are very territorial and will fiercely defend their home from other meerkat gangs.

Guardianship: Meerkats are "snack size" for a number of animals, so one always stands guard while the others forage or nap.

Primary Predators: martial eagles and jackals.

911: Various alarm calls indicate different predators.

Specialization: Alpha male and female do most of the breeding.

Litter Size: Two to five pups.

Gestation: 11 weeks.

Breeding Season: October-April in the wild; year-round in captivity.

Helpfulness: Various adults will baby-sit the youngsters while the mother feeds.

Co-operative behavior: Subordinate females commonly suckle pups born to the dominant female. All group members baby-sit, feed, carry and protect dominant females pups.

Precociousness: sexually mature at one year.

Diet: Scorpions (meerkats are immune to their venom), beetles, spiders, centipedes, millipedes, worms, crickets, small mammals, small reptiles, birds, eggs, tubers and roots.


Meerkat Manor is produced for Animal Planet International by Oxford Scientific Films (OSF). Caroline Hawkins is the executive producer for OSF. Mick Kaczorowski is the executive producer for Animal Planet U.S.


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