Slender-Tailed Meerkat

Slender-Tailed Meerkat

Slender-Tailed MeerkatThe meerkat or suricate, Suricata suricatta, is a small mammal belonging to the mongoose family. Meerkats live in all parts of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, in much of the Namib Desert in Namibia and southwestern Angola, and in South Africa. A group of meerkats is called a “mob”, “gang” or “clan”. A meerkat clan often contains about 20 meerkats, but some super-families have 50 or more members. In captivity, meerkats have an average life span of 12–14 years, and about half this in the wild.

Meerkats are primarily insectivores, but also eat lizards, snakes, scorpions, spiders, plants, eggs, small mammals, millipedes, centipedes and, more rarely, small birds. Meerkats are immune to certain types of venom, including the very strong venom of the scorpions of the Kalahari Desert, unlike humans.[2] They have no excess body fat stores, so foraging for food is a daily need.

Meerkats forage in a group with one “sentry” on guard watching for predators while the others search for food. Sentry duty is usually approximately an hour long. A meerkat can dig through a quantity of sand equal to its own weight in just seconds.[3] Baby meerkats do not start foraging for food until they are about 1 month old, and do so by following an older member of the group who acts as the pup’s tutor.[4] The meerkat standing guard makes peeping sounds when all is well. If the meerkat spots danger, it barks loudly or whistles.[3]

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Least Concern - LC

Slender-Tailed Meerkat-a Slender-Tailed Meerkat-b Slender-Tailed Meerkat-c Slender-Tailed Meerkat-d

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Here are a few fun facts:

  • Meerkats are known for their daring diet: they are able to kill and eat venomous snakes and scorpions without being hurt, as they have become immune to the venom.
  • Able to survive without drinking water, meerkats get the moisture they need from eating roots and tubers as well as fruit such as tsama melons.
  • Meerkats are a type of mongoose and were once considered to be in the same taxonomic family as genets, civets, and linsangs. Now they are placed in their own family.

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Children 3 to 11 $5.00

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