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Meerkat Behavior


Meerkats are highly social and live in colonies averaging 20-30 members. Meerkats perform different tasks to benefit the group and are fiercely territorial. While some are foraging or playing, one or more meerkats (sentry meerkats) are watching for predators and other dangers. Meerkats have an outstanding vision. The alarm sign is given by a distinct bark.

Meerkats live in underground burrows which consist of entrance holes, tunnels, and sleeping chambers. The burrows may be as deep as 10 feet. Meerkats can digg their own burrows but prefer using burrows that have been dug by other animals, like ground squirrels. Meerkats are only active when the sun is present and warms the surface of their burrows.

Meerkats are diurnal and eat insects, spiders, snails, rodents, ground-nesting birds and their eggs, lizards, bulbs and roots of select plants. Teacher meerkats teach the young to hunt.