MeerkatThe Meerkat (Suricata suricatta) is a member of the mongoose family. It can be found in the Kalahari desert in the South of Africa in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, where it lives in so-called 'mobs' or 'gangs'. Their tails are, unlike other mongoose species, long and thin instead of bushy and has a black / red tip. They use their tail for balance and use it to look larger than they really are when threatened or when mobbing, in additon they arch their backs. They are very social animals, and can live together with 3 families, and as much as 30 individuals. Among packs heavy competition and fights can arise. Packs work with sentinels, which sound the alarm with their distinctive bark. Male meerkats tend to take over or emigrate to another pack when they become adults. Their main diet consists of insects, but they will also eat small invertebrates, eggs, reptiles and birds. They are not endangered or threatened.

Interesting fact: The color of the coat of the Meerkat differs per region, following Gloger's rule, which, in short, is that animals living in more humid areas have darker coloured coats than their relatives from more arid regions.

Image by Fir0002, licensed under GFDL

Which zoos have them?
Artis (Netherlands), Brookfield Zoo (United States), Los Angeles Zoo (United States), Minnesota Zoo (United States) and Smithsonian National Zoological Park (United States)

The Meerkat, slender-tailed meerkat is listed as Least Concern (LR/lc), lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Namings for the meerkat
A meerkat group is called a 'gang, mob or clan'.
Some facts about the

Adult weight : 0.776 kg (1.7072 lbs)

Maximum longevity : 21 years

Female maturity :365 days

Male maturity : 365 days

Gestation : 77 days

Weaning : 44 days

Litter size : 4

Litters per year : 1

Interval between litters : 365 days

Weight at birth : 0.029 kg (0.0638 lbs)

Weight at weaning : 0.226 kg (0.4972 lbs)

Basal metabolic rate : 2 W

Body mass : 0.85 kg (1.87 lbs)

Temperature : 35.85 °C (96.53 °F)

Source: AnAge, licensed under CC

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