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Meerkat

Fact File

Continent: Africa
Habitat: Arid savannah and plains, preferably with firm soil to burrow into.
Weight and Height: 730g, 28.5cm

Diet: Carnivore (eats meat)
Gestation: 11 weeks
Number of Young: 3

Characteristics

  • Live in social groups of 3-50.
  • Are diurnal (active during the day).
  • Dominant meerkats will often live for 7-8 years longer than subordinates.
  • Their coat colour varies depending on where in their range they are found.
  • Individuals can act as sentries for their group, standing on their back legs and looking for predators. They will call an alarm to the others if needed.
  • They train their young by giving them small dead prey items at first, and increasing prey size until they are presented alive, depending on the age and size of the pups.
meerkat
Meerkats

Suricata suricatta

Animals — Mammals — Carnivores — Herpestidae (mongooses)


Meerkats are a group living small mammal, related to mongooses. They live in burrows in the ground, which they sleep in when it’s dark together to avoid the cold nights. They emerge in the hot days to forage for insects and other small vertebrates. They normally live in a group of up to 30 meerkats.  Some of them emerge in the hot days to go out for food for the group whilst the rest babysit the cubs and stand watch for predators. They are hunted by martial eagles, tawny eagles and jackals, and can die from snake bites if they encounter a snake.

They have quite a high reproductive rate as if conditions are favourable, as then the pack can breed year round, with females having up to 3 litters in a year. The young are altricial, which means that they aren’t very developed and depend on their parents and pack to look after them.

Meerkats are classed as “low concern” as they are thriving. There are no major threats to them, but they are hunted by martial eagles, tawny eagles and jackals, and can die from snake bites if they encounter a snake in their burrow.

Habitat: Arid savannah and plains, preferably with firm soil to burrow into.

Vital Statistics:
–Average weight: 730g
–Average wingspan: 28.5cm (males tend to be taller than females)

Life Expectancy:
In the wild up to: 15 years
In captivity up to: 20 years

Diet: They eat primarily insects, but will also eat small vertebrates, eggs, and plants.


Distribution: Arid savannah and plains, preferably with firm soil to burrow into.

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