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Category: Carnivores

Location: Foot Safari

Meerkats are small carnivorous (meat eating) mammals which are part of the Mongoose family that live in underground burrows and chambers. Their habitat is semi-arid areas of the western parts of Southern Africa, including the Kalahari Desert in Botswana. Standing upright on their hind legs a meerkat is approximately 25cm tall. This upright position, with their tails for balance, is very common as being a small mammal they are a prime target for predators looking for their next meal, so being able to survey their surroundings is vital for survival. Another strategy employed by Meerkats is living in social groups, which means more eyes and ears alerted to danger.

A family of meerkats is called a mob with each adult member having a role either as babysitter, teacher, hunter or lookout. The lookout role is called the sentry. Individuals take turns surveying the area looking for predators and upon spotting potential danger, an alert is sounded and the mob will run for the safety of their underground burrows. Their diet includes beetle larvae, locusts, scorpions, small lizards and even some snakes. Meerkat babies are born after an 11 week gestation period and only the dominant female is allowed to breed and stay within the mob.

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Meerkats belong to the Mongoose family

They are social animals that must live within a meerkat mob

Meerkats can live for up to 14 years

They are lead by a female and they eat meat & insects such as snakes, spiders & scorpions.

Meerkats stand at 35cm tall, weighing up to 975g

Meerkats live in arid and semi-arid areas of the western parts of southern Africa, including the Kalahari Desert in Botswana.

Meerkats are carnivorous which means their diet is made up of mostly animal protein. To be more specific it is a mixture of invertebrates such as scorpions and beetles with other animals like snakes. They are opportunistic, they eat meat & insects such as snakes, spiders & scorpions.

Meerkats are classed as Least Concern in terms of their conservation status. Wild populations are stable.

The Meerkats’ desert home in remote areas will mean interference by humans is less likely than in resource rich areas such as rain-forests. They are adaptable, opportunistic and quick breeding.

They also play a vital role as a prey species and contribute to the balance of their ecosystem.

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