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Wildlife in Serengeti-Park

Meerkat | Suricata suricatta

Meerkats belong to the family of mongooses, Herpestidae. Like all members of this diurnal group, they are carnivores. Their food consists of almost 90% insects, but they can also capture lizards, frogs, birds, scorpions and eggs. Meerkats inhabit the savannas and semi-deserts of southern Africa, such as the Kalahari Desert in Botswana and the Namib Desert in Namibia. They dig underground tunnel systems that can reach up to 3 meters into the ground. Up to 30 individuals can live in a “clan”, but some super-families usually contains about 50 or more members.

Serengeti-Park animals: Meerkat

Meerkats become sexually mature at about two years of age and can reproduce at any time of the year. As a rule, only the dominant female of the group reproduces. However, the entire clan participates in the rearing of the young. A meerkat assumes the role of guardian. It uses its tail to balance while standing on a vantage point and warns its group of dangers. Depending on whether the predator comes from the air or is on the ground, meerkats use different calls. The warning call such as whistles and barks can vary and provides information about the distance of the attacker. Meerkats can live up to 12-14 years in captivity and about half that age in the wild. Of the population in their natural range, the meerkats are often regarded as a pest because they undermine the arable land of farmers with their extensive tunnel systems.