Meerkat or Suricate
Southern Africa including parts of Angola, Namibia, South Africa, and southern Botswana
Semi arid plains. Scrubland and hard rocky soil.
Head-body length: 20 in; Tail Length: 7 in; Weight: 2 lbs
Opportunistic: insects and other invertebrates. Occasionally small rodents, lizards, ground-nesting birds, snakes, and bulbs and/or roots of certain plants.
Carnivore diet, fruit, vegetables, dog kibble, and live insects.
In no danger of extinction, however erosion of habitat may be responsible for declining numbers.
Erosion of habitat.
Small mammal with tan/ brown coat. Feet have long non retractable claws adapted for digging. Tail about 1/3 length of the body that is used for balance when standing on hind legs and signaling others. Excellent vision used to spot predators. Keen smell used to forage. Sharp conical teeth used to grab insects, lizards, etc.
Have developed complex social organization. Troops or 5-40 individuals made up of smaller warrens. Labor divided among troop members. Babysitters watch over the young. Sentries/Guards watch for potential predator and warn group of danger. Hunters gather food. Teachers show juveniles how to hunt for food.
Dig extensive burrow systems used for sleep, protection, and housing young. Often seen watching for predators while standing on hind legs or sitting on its haunches.
Keep in close contact with constant soft grunts. Also may bark, chirrup, trill, or growl according to circumstance.
When threatened will begin digging to create a cloud of dust and distract the attacker. May stretch legs and arch back with hair standing on end. Groups may advance on enemy in a series of mock attacks to scare off the intruder. Bolder Meerkats may bite if preceding displays fail.
Insects, spiders, scorpions, lizards, snakes, ground- nesting birds, small rodents, and plant material
Eagles, hawks, jackals, vultures, and snakes.
Quadruped that rise onto hind legs for higher vantage point.
Meerkats are immune to venom of snakes and scorpions. Excellent diggers that can dig their own weight in dirt in a matter of seconds.