The meerkat is a type of mongoose that inhabits dry regions of short grass and sparse woody scrub of Africa.
Meerkats live in large family groups. Each morning they emerge from their burrows to bask in the sun and groom each other. Meerkats need a bit of early morning sunbathing to get going. This is followed by a day spent foraging for insects. Throughout the day the mob works as a team to protect the family from predators, taking turns acting as sentries watching over the group and altering them of potential danger. Meerkats can climb whatever they can to get a good vantage point of approaching predators.
Meerkat mobs maintain visual and/or vocal contact at all times through soft grunts. All family members engage in play, grappling and wrestling with each other, which helps establish an individual’s position in the hierarchy peacefully.
Meerkats also have the unique ability to close their ears, this is to keep dirt out while they burrow. Their stomach acts as a sort of solar panel during the winter months. Under a thin layer of stomach hair is a patch of dark skin which collects heat from the winter sun in order to provide warmth on cool days. Meerkat also have outstanding vision and a dark band around their eyes, which reduces any glare from the sun.
Meerkats are not a threatened species. They are present in several large and well-managed protected regions, including the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in Botswana.