The meerkat , otherwise known as the suricate, is a small, furry member of the Mongoose family (Herpestidae) that can stand upright. The creatures have round, fluffy bellies with smaller, more slender limbs. Their snouts are small and pointed, coming to a sharp tip at the animal’s black nose. It lives in the African Savanna grasslands in groups of twenty five to fifty. These groups are called mobs or manors. The female meerkat gives birth to two to five pups at a time, which are born hairless and unable to see. The life expectancy for these pups is about twelve to fourteen years. The creatures live in close-knit webs of intertwining tunnels located underground in the sandy, Savanna soil. The tunnels or burrows serve many purposes including keeping the animals cool and protecting them from predators.
Predators of the meerkat include eagles and hawks, who can easily scoop up the tiny fellows, who weigh only two pounds. This danger requires at least one meerkat to be kept on “watch duty” at all times. This is quite the sacrifice, for the meerkat keeping watch is almost universally killed and eaten. However, the unfortunate meerkat will have already signaled an alarm to the rest of its manor before it is caught, thereby protecting its family and relatives and, in turn, fulfilling its only true purpose in life – passing on its genes.
Meerkats are incredibly selfless creatures, looking out for the wellbeing of the whole manor even if it means surrendering their own personal survival. A crying pup instantly attracts the immediate attention of any adult member of the group, who will see that the pup is taken care of even if it means sacrificing a meal. In addition, grown female meerkats will ta...
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"Meerkat Facts - Suricata Suricatta: The Most Beloved Member of the Mongoose Family." Mammals. Web. 06 June 2010.
"Meerkat Printout- EnchantedLearning.com." ENCHANTED LEARNING HOME PAGE. Web. 06 June 2010.
"Meerkats | The Official Houston Zoo Blog." Welcome to the Houston Zoo Blogs! Education, Wild Conservation,. Web. 06 June 2010.
"Savannah's Jackalberry Tree Facts | Garden Guides." Garden Guides, Your Guide to Everything Gardening. Web. 06 June 2010.
"Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, WA - Meerkat Fact Sheet." Web. 06 June 2010.
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