Compare the Meerkat is something you might have heard of on the radio or seen on the TV. Today’s blog will feature our cute little friends over at Compare the meerkat. Meerkats are a small mammal related very closely to mongooses. They are able to stand on their back legs reaching a total height of 30cm. They will weigh between 05.kg when first born and 2.5 kg when fully grown. 2.5kg is the same weight as 4 IPads on top of each other. They have a fur coat which is relatively short and very sandy in colour. The meerkat will use its tail as a support to help them stand, they will stand for many reasons, for example, keeping a look out for predators or absorbing heat on their bellies. Their eyes are outlined with black patches which will reduce the glare from the sun. Their eyes are also adapted to see a wide field of view to stop predators creeping up on them.
Their mammals are native to the desert climate in South Africa, places like the Kalahari Desert and the Namib Desert, they will roam around in groups of about 20 – 50 meerkats. They are very social creatures and this is essential if the are going to survive in the wild. A group of Meerkats has many names; mob, gang or clan. They are early risers and will come out from there underground tunnel early in the morning to soak up as much sun as they can before their very busy day ahead. Once they are finished soaking up the sunshine off they start with their day. Meerkats have very sharp claws which aid them in digging their intricate underground tunnel systems. These systems are called Burrows, they are used to hide from danger or to cool off from the sun.
They will go about their day and go out foraging the miles and miles of land there is in search for food. Meerkats are very good in keeping each other protected and looking out for one another. 1 of the 20/50 meerkats will be a sentry, (Guard Watch) they will look out for predators, the rest will forage around digging for insects and plants. There are 5 tone calls that the guard will make which tells the other Meerkats of the threat that is about. One of two tones will tell the Meerkats if the predator is ground or aerial. The other 3 tonnes will tell the Meerkats is the threat is a low, medium or high risk. While foraging the Meerkats will make emergency holes to hide in in case of a threat. The Sentry will be the first meerkat to come out of the whole to make sure the threat has gone. For a high-urgency land predator alarm call, meerkats will scatter down their nearest burrow entrance. For a high-urgency aerial predator alarm call, they will crouch down and may look skyward.
Meerkats are under threat from Martial Eagles, Tawny Eagles and Jackals. Sometimes Meerkats may die from been bitten by puff adders and cape cobras. Because Meerkats are omnivores they will eat a variety of food. This is perfect in the desert as the desert is scarce of food so the more they are able to eat the better the survival chances. They eat small rodents, fruit, birds, eggs, lizards, and even poisonous scorpions. Meerkats don’t have much fat storage, therefore, they have to hunt every day in order to survive.
Meerkats will be sexually mature from 2 years of age. They will have 1 – 4 babies (pups), the pups will not leave the tunnels until they are about 2-3 weeks old. Meerkats are able to reproduce all year around. Usually the dominant male and female will be the first choice to be mated with. Even then the Dominant pair will choose whether to accept or evict the young along with the mother. Most young are accepted by the dominant couple though. If kicked out then young and the mothers will join a group of males to make their own clan.
An Interesting Fact You Didn’t Know Before Reading This!!!!
It has been known for Meerkats to be immune from snake venom and scorpion stings.