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Meerkat

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Meerkat

DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT

South Africa. Dry open sandy areas with low grass, semi-arid thickets.

BEHAVIOUR

Active during the day, it eagerly basks in the sun. Spends the nights in underground corridors. It lives in colonies of up to 30 individuals. Collaboration and division of tasks among group members make it easier to survive in a difficult environment. Rangers warn of the enemy, females look after the young, who play under their supervision.

Older herd members teach the young how to get food.

DIET

Beetles, butterflies, moths, spiders, termites, locusts, scorpions, lizards, small rodents. It obtains water from juicy insects, roots, tubers and wild melons.

REPRODUCTION

Sexual maturity is reached in the first year of life. Gestation: approx. 11 weeks, in a litter of 2 to 5 pups. Childbirth in the wild most often occurs during the rainy season (August to March). Life expectancy: 10 years in the zoo, on average 6 years in the wild.

GOOD TO KNOW

Meerkats have an increased resistance to the venom of some species of snakes and scorpions. In their homeland, they are tamed and kept in homes to combat mice and rats.

  • Latin name: Suricata suricatt
  • IUCN –Red List – LC – least concern
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