Last response to the question about the most interesting animals in the Capital Zoo: meerkats!
Wonderful coworker Carla asked whether the Meerkat Manor show helped inform the book, and the short answer is yes. I’d never seen it before I started writing, but I watched a million clips online and I felt like the show did a great job of creating linear stories out of the meerkats’ lives without being invasive at all. (And Yossarian and Flower were my favorites.)
The show actually factored into the book a bit, too. During her job interview for the head veterinarian position at the zoo, Eliza Lindeman brings up creating a second meerkat colony partly based on the show’s popularity. It proves to the zoo’s board of trustees that she’s a younger voice that’s more in tune with popular culture and helps her get the job, and establishing the additional colony is one of the first things she does when she starts.
Meerkats are actually mongooses. They breed like crazy in captivity and have tons of personality — making them popular zoo exhibits in the Capital Zoo (and in real life!)
Plus, look at those faces. Meerkats!