Meerkats are known for being highly cooperative and ridiculously cute, but there's a lot more to learn about these gregarious, often stalwartly erect African mammals. Meerkats are a type of mongoose that weighs about 2 pounds and belong to the mongoose family. They communicate by making various noises and working together to find food and care for their young.
A'mob,' 'gang,' or 'clan' of meerkats is a family group. There are usually around 20 meerkats in these groups, but there have been cases where there have been as many as 50.
Meerkats are gregarious and talkative, with at least ten vocalisations, and females are more outspoken than males. "Murmurs, threatening growls and spits, scolding clucks, and a defensive alarm bark" are among their sounds.
Meerkats only venture out during the day. The mob emerges each morning as the sun rises and begins its food search. They hunt for their favourite foods, including beetles, caterpillars, spiders, and scorpions, using their acute sense of smell. Small reptiles, birds, eggs, fruit, and plants are also on their menu. Several babysitters remain at the burrow to keep an eye on the newborn pups.
Meerkats have a sparsely covered patch on their underbelly that contrasts with their fuzzy tan coats. The hair is so thin that you can see their black skin beneath it, which is precisely the point.
Meerkats eat insects primarily, digging for tasty food such as grubs, termites, beetles, and caterpillars using their keen sense of smell. They aren't, however, limited to bugs. Meerkats also eat small reptiles, eggs, birds, fruit, and some plants.
Meerkats don't have much faith in space when it's time to sleep. Their burrows can be up to 8 feet deep with multiple sleeping chambers, but they prefer to cuddle. In their sleeping chambers, they usually pile on top of each other in heaps, snuggled on top of each other for warmth. When it is hotter, they may spread out more and even sleep above ground in the summer. The rest of the year, however, they seek each other out for a large pile.
Female meerkats typically have three to four offspring at a time, but some can have up to eight. Their pups are born in their burrows, where they are safe from predators. Puppies weigh between 25 and 36 grammes (0.9 and 1.3 ounces). They are born not only very small but also blind, deaf, and nearly hairless.