A meerkat is small mammal that is part of the mongoose family. It can be found in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana and in South Africa and in zoos and wildlife sanctuaries all around the world. The meerkat was made popular by the movie The Lion King which portrayed a small meerkat named Timon as a character. Most meerkats live in clans of up to 20, but some have been reported to live in super-families of 50 or more. Each member of the clan works together to ensure the welfare of the family. Most meerkats live 12 to 14 years. Meerkats are sandy brown in color so that they can blend in with their environments. They have narrow faces with ears that can be sealed closed when digging. They live mostly underground and dig new runs when needed.
What Do Meerkats eat?
Meerkats mostly eat insects such as worms, crickets and grasshoppers. They will also small snakes and lizards, but these are not their preferred food. Meerkats love to eat scorpions and spiders and particularly enjoy ant larva. Meerkats are immune to the poison that scorpions produce making them a perfect predator to the multitude of scorpions in their habitat. Some Meerkats have been seen to eat plants, eggs and other small mammals and birds. They find most of their food underground as they spend a lot of time burrowing with their strong front claws. This is particularly useful during dry summers as the insects burrow deeper into the soil looking for moisture.
These unique animals forage as a clan with one member of the clan standing sentry at all times. This sentry stays on watch for an hour at a time and warns the others of approaching predators and threats by barking loudly or whistling. If all is well they will make a peeping sound to signal that all is well.