CLEVELAND -- Teeny tiny feet are scampering around at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

Zoo officials estimate the meerkat mother gave birth to several kits around August 26 and kept them hidden in a tunnel den out of view from staff members and the public.

"We decided it would be better for the health and welfare of the kits to not disturb them by entering the exhibit and allow them time to bond with their mother," curator of animals Andi Kornak said. "Consequently, we are not sure exactly how many of them there may be total, but we do have visual confirmation on three individuals."

According to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, meerkat kits in the wild are kept hidden in the mob's tunnel system to protect them from predators. They are tended to by several members of the mob, not just the mother, who act as babysitters or wet nurses.

A meerkat typically gives birth to between one and five kits. The kits normally begin exploring outside the den at about three or four weeks old.

Meerkats are native to southern Africa, including Angola, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. In the wild they forage for insects are other small creatures including scorpions and spiders.