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Meerkat Habitat

Meerkat Habitat

Interesting Facts about the Meerkat Habitat

The meerkat habitat is a grass lined burrow somewhere in the Kalahari Desert. These mammals are a member of the mongoose family and not cats at all. Living throughout the ranges of the Kalahari Desert spanning more than 1,000,000 miles and several countries in Africa they were named by the Dutch who referred to them as march cats.

Meerkats are about 12 inches of long, slender animal weighing approximately two pounds. The dark colorings on the back of each of these animals are unique to it alone but otherwise they are generally orange, brown or silver matching the sand of their desert surroundings.

2 Meerkat looing at the camera

They have a black tip on the end of their tails which help them keep one another in visual contact as they are off looking for food.

The meerkat habitat is primarily underground where tribes live in long burrows (a labyrinth) with several entry holes connected to the den; every group (tribe) in its own territory.

They are very territorial and will fight possessively to defend their dens (places of protection) as meerkat tribes will invade other tribes raiding them for food. The size of their den or even their overall lands, depends on the size of the tribe and/or food and water resources.

Transient by nature, the meerkat move either when food supplies become scarce or when forced out by another tribe. The dominant male (alpha) will mark the territory for the tribe. While foraging the meerkat spread out over a large area and though they eat alone they are in constant communication with each other by whiffs of scent, body language or noises.

One meerkat always stands guard and watches for signs of predators such as jackals, hawks, snakes, wild cats or eagles and/or other impending danger such as rival tribes or floods caused by sudden rains.

When the meerkat habitat is finished there is a pile of dirt all around the outside. It is used as a sentry perch to watch from as they have excellent vision for scanning long distances. If trouble does arise the sentinel sounds an alarm signal alerting the foraging tribe to the danger.

Meerkat looking towards the camera

There are several means by which a meerkat evades danger-running for the various bolt-holes, standing in an attempt to ward off the attacker, getting babies under cover and/or uniting to mob the enemy.

Meerkats are primarily insectivores, with roughly 82% of their diet made up of insects such as spiders, centipedes, millipedes-though they love feastings of smaller mammals, snakes along with their eggs and other reptiles, birds along with their eggs and grubs.

They also enjoy such things as worms, grasshoppers, fruit and crickets any chance they get. Getting most of their water from the food they eat, meerkats require little from their surrounding environment.

Meerkats, being social, will share their burrow with others such as themselves-mongoose and ground squirrels in particular, though they are protective when there are pups within the meerkat habitat as mongoose are especially fond of meerkat pups for lunch.

See Related: Pangolins