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The Meerkats of the Kalahari Desert in Africa

Updated on December 1, 2012


Meerkats are small animals that are featured on "Animal Planet." Meerkat Manor is the name of the show, which features the meerkats. What are meerkats? Meerkats are small animals that are about 12 inches high, when they are standing on their hind quarters, and they weigh around two pounds as adults. They live in southern Africa in the Kalahari Desert. Meerkats thrive well in one of the hottest and driest places on earth. They build burrows with their sharp claws, and their claws are curved and non-retractable. Meerkats live in groups, and some groups can number up to 40 members. The scientific name for meerkats is Suricata Suricatta. Meerkats are not members of the cat family, as they are members of the mongoose family.. Meerkats have eyes with black patches around them, and their eyes are in the front of their faces. They have brown noses, and small, black crescent-shaped ears that can close when the meerkats are digging in the sand to prevent the sand from getting in their ears.

Meerkat Standing Up

A Meerkat Standing Up
A Meerkat Standing Up | Source

Meerkats are Famous for Standing Up

Meerkats are famous for standing up on their hind legs. Meerkats need to go foraging for food daily, as they have no fat storage. One meerkat stands on its hind legs keeping watch for predators from the sky and/or on the ground. When a predator is spotted the meerkat standing guard will bark loudly to warn the other meerkats to take cover. The diet of meerkats consists of insects, lizards, birds, and fruit. When they hunt for bigger prey, they work together as a group. Meerkats also eat scorpions. Meerkats can die if they get stung by scorpions. Meerkats have developed a way to handle scorpions. When a meerkat comes up to a scorpion, they act quickly and grab the scorpion with their forepaws and bite the stinger off, then drag it through sand to remove any poisonous residue, and starts eating the scorpion. After the scorpion stops moving, the meerkat eats until it finishes its meal and then hops away.

Meerkats are educational and fun to watch on Animal Planet's "Meerkat Manor." It is interesting to see the one meerkat, who is standing guard, because it stands straight up, watching out for dangerous predators from the air and/or ground. Meerkats are unique and interesting.

A Meerkat
A Meerkat | Source

A Meerkat

Meerkat | Source

What Meerkats Look Like

Meerkats have long slender limbs, and 4 toes on each foot. Meerkats can be fawn-colored, peppered with gray, tan, brown with a silver tint. They have short stripes on their backs, which are parallel to each other. The two stripes extend from the base of their tails to the shoulders. Meerkats' bellies have very little fur and the black skin shows underneath, which they use to absorb heat in the morning after a cold desert night. They use this area of black skin to absorb heat when standing up on their rear legs.

Southern Africa

Meerkats Sexually Mature

Meerkats sexually mature around 1 years of age. Meerkats have litters of about 1 to 5 pups. Usually the Alpha pair mates. Females can give birth 2 to 4 times a year. The other members of the meerkat family for example: the father and the siblings help take care of the young, teaching them to play, forage for food, and alerting them to the ever present dangers of predators of the sky and the land. The young meerkats stay close to the burrow, until they are mature enough to forage for food on their own or in a group. They are taught how to eat scorpions by the adult meerkats. Meerkats are agile and very cute. They are interesting and great fun to watch on TV.


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    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      Your welcome and thanks for commenting. I really like the way they stood up on their hind legs. Meerkats are real cute!

    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      I saw them the first time on the Discovery Channel in Meerkat Manor, and I thought that they were so cute, the way they stood up so straight on their hind legs. They are fun! Thanks for commenting.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain

      This was a great hub about Meerkats. I fell in love with the funny little creatures the 1st time I saw a t.v. programme about them a few years ago. They make me lugh the way they so quickly stand up straight. ........zoom..up........zoom..... down...

      .....Thank you for an interesting read.