Mammals - Meerkat


Meerkat, Slender-tailed Meerkat

Suricata suricatta


Class Mammalia   Meerkat, Slender-tailed Meerkat
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Order Carnivora
Distribution Angola, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa
Habitat Dry, open plains
Characteristics An adult Meerkat has a head-body length of 25 to 35 cm, a tail length of 20 to 25 cm, and weighs 620 to 960 g.  The animal features a rounded head with dark ears and a sharp-pointed muzzle, and the eyes have dark patches around them.  Its long, slender body is covered in a soft silvery brown coat, the tail dark-tipped.  The long forefeet and strong claws enable them to dig burrows.
Behaviour Meerkats are diurnal and social.  They are burrowing animals and live in colonies of up to 30 individuals.  A colony usually contains two or three families.  While some members of a colony forage for food, the others will act as sentries, watching out for predatory birds.  When a threat is detected, these sentries will bark to alert the group who will retreat to the burrows or run for cover.
Diet Carnivorous, feeding primarily on insects, but sometimes on small vertebrates like rodents and geckos.