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Wildlife Wednesday - Meerkats

Posted Wed, 25 Jul 2012 (2 years ago)
In this week’s Wildlife Wednesday slot we look at the super-cute and fascinating Meerkat found in South Africa and neighbouring countries.

 

The Meerkat’s official name is Suricata. The word Meerkats comes from the Dutch for ‘lake cat’, so-called as Meerkats often live near water.

Basic facts about Meerkats:

Image source: http://www.meerkatadventures.co.za/daily-blog

 

  • Size: 25 – 35 cm with a tail of 17 – 25 cm tagged on. They weigh 600 – 975g.
  • Appearance: Small, long furry creatures with short legs. They have tan or grey coats, brown stripes on the back and front, long black tails and shiny eyes ringed in black. Their throats are off-white. Their ears are small and round.
  • Habitat: Grasslands / savannah – they live in the burrows of ground squirrels which they make bigger by digging.
  • Located in: South Africa, Angola, Namibia, Botswana
  • Diet: Omnivores eating both plants (bulbs and roots) and insects and spiders
  • Predators: Birds of prey such as eagles. Snakes.
  • Society: Meerkats live in colonies of 3 / 4 families making up around 30 individuals.  Families comprise a mating pair and their young. Gestation period is 11 weeks. Adults take turns to stand guard duty and warn the rest of the clan by means of a bark should danger be spotted. They will either go back underground or the adults will guard the young and drive the predator away.
  • Fun fact: Meerkats love to soak up the sun’s rays each morning when they come out of their burrows.

Meet Meerkats in their own habitat!

 


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