True Wild Life | Meerkat | The meerkat is a small weasel looking mammal similar to a mongoose. The meerkat is exclusively found in parts of South Africa, where the meerkat congregate in groups. The meerkat hang around in gangs of about 20 members but much bigger groups are not uncommon.The meerkat is around 30cm tall with a slightly shorter tail, and meerkats generally live for around 12 years.
The meerkat became much more popular with humans after the BBC television series Meerkat Manor. The program followed the world of one gang meerkats and is a very factual with fantastic images of the meerkats. The meerkat inhabits all parts of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana and South Africa. A group of meerkats is called a mob of meerkats, a gang of meerkats or a clan of meerkats. A meerkat clan often contains about 20 meerkats at a time, but some meerkat superfamilies have been known to have had 50 or more meerkat members.
The meerkat has a long non-retractable, strong, 2 cm long, curved claw on the end of the meerkats fingers which the meerkat uses for digging underground burrows and the meerkats also use these claws for digging for prey. Meerkats have four toes on each foot and long slender limbs which along with the meekats curved claws helps the meerkat to climb trees when the meerkat needs to. The meerkats coat is usually fawn-coloured peppered with gray, tan, or brown with a silver tint. Meerkats also have short parallel stripes across their backs, extending from the base of the meerkats tail to the meerkats shoulders. The meerkat patterns of stripes are unique to each meerkat.
The tummy of the meerkat has no markings but the meerkats belly has a patch which is only sparsely covered with hair and showing the meerkats black skin underneath. The meerkat uses this area of its body to absorb heat while standing on its rear legs. Meerkats are generally known to do this early in the morning after cold desert nights.