Other names: Suricate
Latin name: Suricata suricatta
mass: 500 - 1000g
Older: 5 - 10 years
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition type: Carnivore
food: Amphibians, insects, small mammals
distribution: Southern Africa
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
habitat: Semi-desert and savanna areas
natural enemies: Birds of prey, wild dogs, wildcats
sexual maturity: after about 10 - 12 months
mating season: all year round
gestation: about 11 weeks
litter size: 2 - 4 cubs
social behavior: Herd animal
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting facts about the meerkat
- Meerkats live in colonies of 20 - 40 individuals.
- In the wild, meerkats can only be found in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa.
- Meerkats feed on almost 90% of insects. On occasion, lizards, snakes, scorpions and eggs are also eaten.
- Meerkats can easily kill scorpions and snakes. The poison affects her nervous system only weak to hardly.
- When looking for food, at least one meerkat keeps watch vigilantly by standing on its hind legs and surveying the surroundings. If a predator is sighted, the meerkat emits a loud warning cry. As a result, all meerkats flee back to their underground passageways.
- The warning calls are specific and distinguishable so that each meerkat immediately knows what an attacker is (for example, a bird of prey from the air or a wild dog from the sun).
- Meerkats are optically perfectly adapted to their environment. With their light brown coat color, they are difficult to distinguish at medium distances from the sandy bottom.
- Whenever food gets scarce in one area, a group of meerkats moves on and builds new underground tunnels.
- So that no sand gets into the sensitive auditory canals during daily digging, meerkats can close their ears.