“Exploring the Enchanting Meerkat Habitat: A Sneak Peek into their World”
Thrive in the wilderness of the Kalahari Desert, the home turf of the meerkats, these incredible creatures are not of feline descent despite what their Dutch-derived name – “march cats” – would suggest. Spanning several countries in Africa, the Kalahari is an extensive sandy landscape reaching over 1,000,000 miles.
Meerkat Habitat: Living the Desert Life
Meerkats are small mammals, with their slender bodies stretching around 12 inches and weighing around two pounds. Uniquely, they all sport dark colored markings on their backs, while the rest of their coat of fur exhibits hues of orange, brown or silver, blending in harmoniously with their sandy surroundings.
These captivating creatures stay connected visually via the black tip on their tails, especially when searching for nourishment.
Meerkat Habitat: Burrow Life
Below the sandy earth is the heart of the meerkat habitat. They share a labyrinthine network of tunnels and entry points, each being a unique home for different social groups or “tribes.” Each group staunchly defends its territory, ready to fight for the wellbeing of its family and the security of its resources.
The Sociable Scurry: Life in a Meerkat Colony
- The meerkat society is transient, moving locations when food becomes scarce or when forced out by competing tribes.
- The dominant male, or alpha, distinguishes the territory for the tribe.
- While foraging, meerkats spread out, but even then, their communication remains strong – through scent, body movements, or vocalizations.
In this enchanting meerkat habitat, the community works together. One of them always stands guard for challengers, such as jackals, hawks, snakes, wild cats or eagles, as well as competing groups.Hawks and sudden rains that bring floods are among common threats.
Masters of Evading Danger
Their home is well-prepared with bolt-holes for escape, and the sentinel always sounds an alarm at the first sign of trouble. Several strategies may be deployed, ranging from running for cover, standing their ground, mobbing the enemy in numbers or hurry the young ones to safety.
Meerkat Diet at a Glimpse
Delving into the daily diet of the meerkats, they primarily rely on insects to fulfill their hunger. Insects such as spiders, centipedes, and millipedes form 82% of their diet. When the opportunity arises, they also love to pack in smaller mammals, snakes, reptiles, birds, and grubs. Water, though, remains a sparse necessity, as they get most of it from food.
The Role of the Burrow
Although the burrow is a personal space for the meerkat, they show generosity by sharing it with other friendly species like mongoose and ground squirrels. Yet, when pups are around, the grown-ups keep a watchful eye on the burrow’s guests!
To explore further into the charming lives of these creatures, check out our article onPangolins.