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Meerkats belong to the mongoose family. They live in grasslands and deserts in the southern tip of Africa. These animals have thick fur with brown stripes, a small face and large eyes surrounded by dark spots, a slender body, and a long, narrow tail.
Meerkats are very social animals. In a colony of meerkats you can find members dedicated to different tasks such as caring for the young, foraging for food, and protection from predators. Most meerkats live in underground burrows in groups of up to 40 individuals. Each colony is made up of several family groups, that is, they are not all related to each other.
- Meerkats are diurnal animals, which means that they spend the day searching for food. The meerkat’s diet consists primarily of insects, but also lizards, snakes, spiders, plants, eggs, small mammals, and even scorpions.
- Meerkats know how to take advantage of their excellent eyesight, being able to detect predators in the air such as the falcon from more than 300 meters away. A clan of meerkats will always have a guard to keep an eye out for predators while the others forage.
- The female gives birth to up to 5 pups, which are born hairless, blind and with their ears closed. The pups stay in the burrow with their mother for a couple of weeks, until they are ready for solid food. The young meerkats don’t know what or how to eat, so their mother or another adult in the community will teach them how to feed themselves.
- These curious animals are immune to the poison of snakes and scorpions, hence they can feed on the latter.
- Meerkats live up to 10 years.