Swingkat's condition has improved; photos - Swingkat, Sayuri and Möfzi.
Swingkat Doro visited the Mob today and took these photos of Swingkat in his current condition. He's seen better days but it is a definite improvement over last week.
He will still have to learn to adapt to his new condition with less teeth though.
Two pics of Swingkat taken on Oct. 17. Note that his jaw isn't as deformed any more as on Oct. 11 and his general condition although still poor has improved.
Here are some older pics of Swingkat when he was healthy. At left, taking care of a baby on August 2 and at right, standing guard on April 26.
Swingkat has always taken his duties seriously whether as babysitter or sentry.
Sayuri Today again Sayuri could be seen standing up a lot, she is continuously improving. We have also noticed that she has developed a rather "high-legged" gait instead of hovering very close to the ground - in the beginning she was more crawling than anything else. At below left is a photo of the typical situation you would see her in when the pups were very young: While the other pups could already sit up properly, even stand a bit, and walk some range, she was often just lying around with her legs splayed away like a run-over frog.
Initially one could think that she was just generally weak or exhausted, but we soon observed that there was something "actively" wrong with her, i.e. you would see her starting some movement and suddenly flipping right over on her back from some sudden full-body twitch or convulsion. At this time one could see that she was almost unable to move in any certain direction because she would always flip over and couldn't regain her orientation. Her attempts of many hours to get out of the burrow then would result in total exhaustion and she would be lying around like this for hours, just trembling a bit.
The initial appearance when you saw her like this was that she lacked muscle tone or was just generally weakened, but if you observed her for a longer time you could see that there had to be something wrong with the control of her movements, and the exhaustion was probably secondary, it resulted from her endless attempts to get anywhere.
Moving around is difficult enough for a young meerkat pup and her attempts were always confounded by these convulsions that really seemed to strike her like lightning bolts.
In general, after a while one of the adults would carry her around to wherever the other pups were. We also often found that she was very dirty, perhaps because she rolled into some muddy puddle that the other pups were able to avoid. However the adults usually cleaned her up rather quickly.
This was the time when we really didn't know whether she would pull through.
She has progressed enormously from this point, at right you can see her biting into one of her littermates during a playfight. The turnaround was when she was ca. 1 month old.
She has become quite assertive! If she didn't have her handicap, with her indomitable personality she would probably have the quality for taking over one day as DF from Möfzi. But perhaps coping with her handicap is also part of what created that personality.
Left: August 2, Sayuri (the pup at right in the image) and one of the other pups. Note that the other pup, looking to the left, is sitting up properly and Sayuri is just smashed on the ground.
Right: On September 20 Sayuri takes a bite out of one of her siblings :)
Möfzi And here are two more pics of Möfzi, one showing her with mouth wide open (you can see where a canine is missing) in a playfight with Jolly Roger on August 30, and the other showing her seconds before falling asleep, as a tired mother on July 27.