Meerkat Stolen from Zoo, Abandoned at Petco

By Jason Beahm on November 23, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

How do you steal a meerkat? Why would you steal a meerkat? What is a meerkat?

Authorities in Kansas City have more questions than answers after a meerkat was stolen from the Kansas City Zoo, except to the latter question -- they now know what the furry animal is. A meerkat is a small mammal and a member of the mongoose family, and were made famous in the popular Animal Planet show "Meerkat Manor." They live in all parts of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana and in South Africa. (Thanks Wikipedia.) If you still can't picture one, 'Timon' from The Lion King was a meerkat.

This time, some 11 days after being stolen from the Kansas City Zoo, the meerkat turned up in an aquarium outside a Petco store. The zoo had not reported him missing because they assumed a prowler must have killed him, they had not contemplated a person jumping over the protective glass area into the animal's area and taking him.

"We didn't think anybody was stupid enough to steal a zoo animal," Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff said. "Meerkats are wild little animals, and they've got sharp teeth and they can bite like the dickens."

It really left people scratching their heads as to why someone would steal the meerkat then deposit it at a pet store. A prank? For a pet? To sell? Drugs? 

All the questions aside, Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff wished nothing but the best for the person who stole and returned the meerket... er, no he didn't:

"They should feel lucky that they're not all chewed to heck," Wisthoff told the local Fox affiliate with a laugh. "And hopefully they got all kinds of bite wounds on them and I hope they get infected and the person bleeds for a long time."

Jokes aside, investigators would really like to get in contact with the person who stole the meerkat because they are concerned about a potential health risk. Investigators fingerprinted the aquarium to help identify the thief. Anyone with information can contact the Overland Park Chief Animal Control Officer Eric Thompson at (913) 895-6279.

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