21/10/2011 11:26 BST | Updated 21/12/2011 05:12 GMT

Halloween Meerkats Playing With Pumpkins (Pictures and Video)

Meerkats went trick-or-treating at an Animal Park near Ashford, Kent, when staff stuffed a pumpkin full of cockroaches and crickets, some of their favourite foods.

The omnivores eat many different things, including lizards, birds, and fruit. When they go hunting for small game, like rats, they work together, signalling to each other using furtive purring noises.

Giving children another idea for Halloween costumes this year, the meerkats embraced the pumpkins, poking their naturally inquisitive heads inside.

A member of staff at Port Lympne Animal Park said:

"Some decided to attack the pumpkins but one was highly ingenious and stuck its head right inside the pumpkin to eat all the goodies before the rest of the clan could get to it."

"It is important to provide enrichment for our animals. This helps keep them interested and offers new challenges for them."

Marwell animal park also provided pumpkins for these meerkat pups, seen gambolling around a grinning gourd in the video above.

Their dark-skinned, sparsely furred tummies, shown in the picture below, often lead meerkats to be called 'The Solar Panel Of The Animal World' as this attribute lets them soak up many of the sun’s rays.

Originally from the African Sahara, no doubt these meerkats have been enjoying the unseasonally hot October sunshine.

Gorillas also muscled in on the fun at the animal park, though in a different enclosure, as staff gave them pumpkins with nuts and seeds in. Ambam, the silverback gorilla who walks upright, one of the most popular inhabitants of the animal park, ripped his straight in half and walked off to eat the food alone.