Meerkat

Suricata suricatta

Like other mongooses, meerkats spend the night in a burrow. In the early morning, they stand tall on their hind legs, exposing their bellies to the sun to warm up before the day’s foraging activities can begin. A nearly bald patch of darker skin acts like a solar panel to soak up the sun’s rays.

It’s fascinating to watch the meerkats work together. While the rest of the mob scurries about rustling up grub, they take turns standing tall on a rock, termite mound or tree, looking out for danger. An eagle flies overhead and a whistle from the guard sends the mob dashing, tails up, for their burrow. Living in groups of 30 or more, everyone pitches in to care for the pups, taking turns as babysitters and teachers while the others are out looking for food.

Fact File

lengthLength: Up to 1 ft
weightWeight: 1.5 to 2 lbs
life expectancyLife Expectancy: 9 yrs
habitatHabitat: Savannah
dietDiet: Insects, lizards, scorpions, and other small animals

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