MeerkatsSomething about Meerkats, that has our whole family engulfed in love with them. So here is to another one of my favourite animals.
These gregarious animals are often seen in groups, and several families may live together in a large community. Squirrel-sized meerkats are mongooses famed for their upright posture. They often stand on their rear legs and gaze alertly over the southern African plains where they live. Mothers can even nurse their young while standing.
Meerkats (also called suricates) work together in numbers. A few will typically serve as lookouts, watching the skies for birds of prey, such as hawks and eagles, that can snatch them from the ground. A sharp, shrill call is the signal for all to take cover. While a few individuals guard the group, the rest busy themselves foraging for the foods that make up their varied diet. Meerkats will eat insects, lizards, birds, and fruit. When hunting small game, they work together and communicate with purring sounds. Meerkats are good hunters and are sometimes tamed for use as rodent-catchers.
Meerkat groups utilize several different burrows and move from one to another. Each burrow is an extensive tunnel-and-room system that remains cool even under the broiling African sun. Females give birth to two to four young each year in one of the group's burrows. Fathers and siblings help to raise meerkat young, teaching them to play and forage and alerting them to the ever present danger from above. Young meerkats are so fearful of predatory birds that even airplanes will send them diving for cover.
*We had some very entertaining interaction with Meerkats a long time ago at the Toronto Zoo and it just made us fall in love with these little critters even more. They are very curious and my daughter had a bag of popcorn in her hand as her snack, while standing behind the glass border between us and Meerkats, all the Meerkats came lining up at the glass window and when my daughter walked over to the other window they all followed her so she went back and forth numerous time and just thought this was hilarious. We sure are easy entertained and the poor Meerkats were left without any treats just teasing.
*The other day my son's girlfriend posted this picture on her Facebook Wall...apparently my son had to rearrange the whole display of Meerkats at the local drug store, just because no Meerkat ever stands alone. LOL.... he is almost 25 lol.