DUDLEY Zoo and Castle’s meerkats have been enjoying the hot weather – which is reminiscent of their homeland.

The meerkats, which are African desert natives, have been having fun in the sun – knocking down sandcastles which the zoo’s keepers have hidden mealworms in.

Meerkats are perfectly suited to living in a hot, arid and sandy environment.

Dark patches around their eyes help with sun glare, their light brown thin fur allows them to survive in the searing heat, their eyes have a special membrane cover to stop sand going in them., they can close their ears to keep out the sand and they live in underground burrows which are cool and shady to protect them during the hottest hours.

Zoo bosses have advised visitors that while the UK remains in the grip of a heatwave which could see temperatures top 40C that there may be last-minute changes to exhibits and facilities and some animals may not be on show as they take themselves off to the cool off indoor dens.

People visiting the zoo are also urged to stay safe in the hot sun by wearing sunscreen, a hat and drinking plenty of water.