Meerkats belong to the mongoose family. They are highly territorial and social animals that live in groups known as a ‘mob’. In the network of burrows only the alpha male and female breed but the mob help protect the offspring. Meerkats are carnivores eating scorpions, insects, spiders, centipedes, small rodents, reptiles, birds, eggs, tubers and roots. One meerkat will act as a sentry while the mob is foraging, ready to issue a specific call when danger arises.
Latin name - Suricata suricatta
Class - Mammals
Order - Carnivora
Family - Herpestidae
IUCN Status - Least Concern
Habitat - Dry open areas of grassland
Distribution - South Africa
15 years in captivity
Meerkats have their own inbuilt sunglasses! The dark patches of skin and fur that surround their eyes help to reduce the glare from the sun. They also help them to see long distances.
They are inquisitive creatures and love to investigate new things but they are always on the lookout for danger and often mistake helicopters for birds of prey!
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