Nothing can compare to a mother's love but this toy meerkat is doing a good job as a stand-in to five orphaned pups.
Console the meetkat: Nothing compares to a mother's love
Animal lover Steve Rowlands was concerned when they lost their mother, Anika, two days after being born, so he decided to create a surrogate.
Using a cuddly toy and a hot water bottle, the 28-year-old has successfully recreated a replacement parent.
'We put it in with them and they just snuggled up to it like it was their mother,' said Mr Rowlands, who runs animal rescue centre Tropical Inc in Oldbury, West Midlands.
'They now assume that the toy is their mum and they act completely normally around it.
'We even feed them milk near the toy so they can't tell the difference between it and their mother - it's a really good result.'
The highly sociable creatures became an overnight hit when their antics in the deserts of Botswana and South Africa were aired in the BBC's Meerkat Manor in 2005.
They then found renewed fame recently thanks to TV adverts featuring spoof website ComparetheMeerkat.com