I thought that you guys might appreciate a little more information on meerkats; that way you will be able to understand The Meer better. As I stated on my ‘Sources’ page, I have gotten much of this information from the show “Meerkat Manor” that was on Animal Planet and “Kalahari Meerkats” on the YouTube channel Wild Things. I have also looked at numerous websites over the years to corroborate this information, and I can’t begin to remember or list them all.
Meerkats are members of the mongoose family and can only be found in the Kalahari desert in the southern part of Africa. They live in family groups of about 5-50 individuals, though groups range in numbers an average family of meerkats has around 25 members. Each family’s territory cover sa few miles (about 1-4) and will have multiple burrows scattered throughout. Meerkat families move burrows about every two months (in The Meer I use the word ‘moon’ in place of month), this is because the burrow becomes infested with fleas and ticks the longer the family stay. Meerkat burrows are large and complex with many chambers and tunnels, the largest chamber being the one that the family normally sleeps in. Scattered throughout family territories are bolt holes, which are burrows with single or few tunnels, that the meerkats use to escape predators. Meerkats only weigh about two pounds and have many natural predators such as, goshawks, eagle owls, African wildcats, cobras, adders, and black eagles. In order to protect themselves from these predators when meerkats are foraging for food they post sentries, where one meerkat will stand on their hind legs and watch for threats. If a sentry spots danger they will alert the rest of the family with an alarm call, then the family will either retreat to hide in a bolt hole or face the danger by rallying and mobbing together. Meerkat diets consist of mostly insects, but they will also eat toads, lizards, and bird or turtle eggs if they can find them. Meerkats get most of the water they need to survive from their food and therefore do not need to drink often, which is an adaptation to surviving in the desert. There is one dominant female and one dominant male in every group. They are the only meerkats in the family that are allowed to mate and have pups. If a subordinate male or female steps out of line, they are liable for expulsion from the group by one or more of the dominant pair.
The Kalahari desert is not a true desert since it gets a substantial amount of rainfall in the wet season. In the dry season, though, there is no rain and the Kalahari is transformed into what we normally image when we picture a desert. Also, the temperature soars during the day and plummets at night, which is why meerkats curl up together for warmth when they are sleeping in their burrows. Meerkats share the Kalahari with much flora and fauna such as, lions, hyenas, giraffes, elephants, acacia trees, baobab trees, daisies, dandelions, and much more.
I hope that was helpful, let me know if you’d like any further information or have any questions!
Here’s some links to the meerkat videos I’ve posted on YouTube:
Visit the ‘Who Am I’ page for more information on yours truly and for further information about this website/blog and videos:
‘The Meer of Vast’ page lists all the meer, their families, and includes pictures and timelines.
To see maps of the territories and gain insight into the language and terminology of the meer visit the page ‘The Meer Territory & Terminology’: