Friday, April 12, 2013

Meerkat Facts

This is a copy of a post I did on another blog I am a contributor on, The Animal Savannah, an AWESOME Animal Facts blog created by LEAFA! If you like animals, you'll love her blog!

Meerkats are small, omnivorous mammals that live in the deserts of Africa. They stand about 12 inches tall, and weigh just two pounds.
Their territory usually consists of about 3 square miles, and they viciously defend it from rival groups. Fights over territory can be very vicious, and often end in blood.

Groups of meerkats usually consist of about 20 or 30 members, but can be smaller or larger - even up to 50! 

Meerkat "mobs", as they are called, are led by a dominant female and her mate. However, it is the female that is the true leader of the group. The dominant female has the sole mating rights in the group, and any subordinate female who makes the mistake of mating within the group or with a roving male, puts herself in danger of eviction. Since the dominant female wants her own pups to have the best chance of survival, any other female's pups may or may not be tolerated. 
Meerkats spend most of their day foraging. Since they only weigh about two pounds, they have to constantly eat to keep up their body weight. 
The diet of a meerkat is mainly constituted of insects, scorpions, reptile eggs, or even the occasional snake. Even though scorpions are poisonous, meerkats have developed an immunity to their venom, and relish the taste of this tasty snack. 

Meerkat pups are born in litters of 1-8, and usually emerge from the den for the first time at about 3 weeks old. They stay at home with the babysitters until they are about 4 or 5 weeks old.Only about 3/4 of all meerkat pups survive to adulthood. Many fall prey to owls, hawks, hunger, the elements, or sometimes other mobs.
 Meerkats have numerous burrows in their territory, and memorize the locations of thousands of "bolt holes" within their territory. In emergency situations, these bolt holes provide protection to them when their burrow is too far away to get to quickly. Meerkat burrows are a maze of tunnels and passageways, with many different entrances to the same burrow.

The reason I chose to write about meerkats is that we've been watching "Meerkat Manor", and so I've learned a lot about them this past week! XD We own the first three seasons on DVD, and we watched them a couple years ago. Just this last week, we decided to watch them all again. We just finished the last episode today! It's a good show, but kind of sad... the life of a meerkat sure has many dangers! I'm glad I'm not a meerkat! O.O 
Hope you enjoyed this! :D

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