IUCN conservation status
Long and sand-coloured, meerkats live in a tightly knit clan where everyone looks after each other.
A Varied Diet Including Scorpions and Cobras!
Their diet consists mainly of insects, but they may also occasionally eat small vertebrates and eggs. Unaffected by the venom of scorpions and cobras, they'll work in numbers to stun their prey before grabbing it by the stinger or by the head.
Sentinels Keep Watch over the Surroundings at All Times!
Meerkats have an excellent vision allowing them to spot predators from a distance and warn the rest of the clan by yelping. The circles of black hair around their eyes prevent them from being blinded by the sun. Well equipped to scratch the ground, they can move the equivalent of 50 times their mass of sand when searching for their daily food.
Strength in Numbers
A clan usually consists of a dozen individuals living in a vast network of burrows. A labyrinth of chambers and galleries, the burrow provides protection from most predators, as well as protection from the extreme temperature variations of the desert environment where meerkats live.
Protected by the Harsh Conditions of Their Environment
It's estimated that there are about 500,000 meerkats in the wild. Since they live in areas that aren't heavily exploited by humans, they're considered an abundant species. This curious species is a popular subject for biologists conducting research on animal behaviour. They've gained a lot of popularity since the Disney film "The Lion King".