Tuesday, 11 October 2011

ABC Wednesday - M is for Meerkat

I know it's not yet Wednesday in our part of the world but it's approaching Wednesday evening in new Zealand so that's one reason for posting my ABC Wednesday early. The other is that I have to link it to the main blog and I can't do that without publishing it first. Consequently if I scheduled the post it wouldn't be linked.

Last week I chose Lar Gibbon for the letter L and today's suggestion is also a MaMMal.

M is for Meerkat.

Meerkat sculpture - Chester Zoo, UK

The Meerkat or Suricate, Suricata suricatta, is a small mammal belonging to the Mongoose family. Meerkats live in all parts of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, in much of the Namib Desert in Namibia and southwestern Angola, and in South Africa.

(Map from Wikipedia) 

Meerkats are small burrowing animals, living in large underground networks with multiple entrances which they leave only during the day. They are very social, living in colonies averaging 20–30 members or, occasionally, up to 50. Animals in the same group regularly groom each other to strengthen social bonds. Most meerkats in a group are all siblings or offspring of the alpha pair. A group of meerkats is called a "mob", "gang" or "clan".  Meerkats have an average life span of 12–14 years.

Meerkats are primarily insectivores, but also eat lizards, snakes, scorpions, spiders, plants, eggs, small mammals, millipedes, centipedes and, more rarely, small birds. Meerkats are immune to certain types of venom; they are immune to the very strong venom of the scorpions of the Kalahari Desert, unlike humans.

Meerkats demonstrate altruistic behavior within their colonies; one or more meerkats stand sentry while others are foraging or playing, to warn them of approaching dangers. When a predator is spotted, the meerkat performing as sentry gives a warning bark, and other members of the gang will run and hide in one of the many bolt holes they have spread across their territory. The sentry meerkat is the first to reappear from the burrow and search for predators, constantly barking to keep the others underground. If there is no threat, the sentry meerkat stops signaling and the others feel safe to emerge.

The underside of the meerkat has no markings, but the belly has a patch which is only sparsely covered with hair. The meerkat uses this area to absorb heat while standing on its rear legs, usually early in the morning after cold desert nights.

I hope you enjoyed this post about the Marvellous and Magical Meerkat.   You can find out more about meerkats at

So the Meerkat is a MaMMal, a MeMber of the Mongoose family

Why not visit the link to other people's imaginative posts for the letter M by clicking on the this link?


  1. They were my husband's favourite animals. Sometimes we would go to the zoo and watch them for half of the afternoon, it was never boring!

  2. great choice! pretty interesting animal...I've seen one at a local zoo in our city...:)

  3. Meerkats are so cute -- perky and nosy with sweet little faces. The last photo on your post is lovely. Since they live in colonies I suppose they wouldn't make a good pet. Too bad.

  4. Always nice to learn something about the little animals in other parts of the world.

  5. Hakuna matata
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  6. Interesting looking critters. I wonder why they live in such a relatively small corner of the world. Hmmm.

  7. Fascinating animal that looks like a cartoon.
    Great photos and information. Thanks.

  8. such an interesting animal! thanks for enlightening me!

  9. The statue sure captures the Meerkats look! I like the shot of the two together.

  10. Excellent selection of M's. My son loves Meerkat from his Animals are Beautiful People DVD, featuring the Kalahari Dessert. I like the fact you included that they eat snakes, scorpions, millipedes, centipedes, ewww... Good because I hate those.

  11. What a very wise looking creature. I'm glad to become acquainted with it, and I must tell you how much I like the qquote in your heading about 'having been young longer than most people'!

  12. They're so cute, aren't they?

    Would you like to read some Loving Messages that Melts My Heart? Please come on over.

  13. Wonderful shots and very informative.

  14. They are such cute looking animals ! I have only seen them in a zoo.
    ABC Team

  15. They are cute little guys, I love watching them, always so busy. I always have to think about their English name - meerkat means Meerkatze in German, a very different animal (apparently there was some confusion about which animal it should apply to and meerkat got stuck in English).

  16. Nice statue in the first picture; and I like the last photo with the two huddled together.

  17. Cute and clever, I occasionally got sucked into watching Meerkat Mansion, no wonder they sell insurance so well.
    Thanks for your visit, I always enjoy a trip to your "Liverpool home", great city.

  18. A decade or so ago, I saw a documentary about meerkats and have not forgotten how much I enjoyed it. Your post is wonderfully informative and the pictures are magical.


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