A look inside
the life of a Meerkat
To celebrate the release of Meerkats: The Movie
and Meerkats Manor, which are both released by Momentum
Pictures on 2nd November on DVD, we have decided to teach
you a bit more about the wonderful little things.
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.
all parts of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana and South Africa. A group
of meerkats is called a "mob", "gang" or "clan". A meerkat clan often
contains about 20 meerkats at a time, but some superfamilies have had 50
or more. Meerkats have an average life span of 12–14 years.
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. Meerkats are primarily insectivores, but also eat
lizards, snakes, scorpions, spiders, plants, eggs, small mammals,
millipedes, centipedes and, more rarely, small birds. They are partially
immune to certain venoms; they are immune to the very strong venom of
the scorpions of the Kalahari Desert, unlike humans.
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.
A meerkat group may die out because of predator attack,
its alpha pair being unable to breed, starvation in a year when the
rains fail, or epidemic disease.
A new meerkat group often arises from evicted females
meeting and staying with roving males, looking for chances to mate. The
litter size is usually 2–5 pups.
and Meerkats Manor, are both released by Momentum Pictures on
2nd November on DVD