Meerkats are small omnivorous mammals and
they are from the mongoose family. They live in underground
cities in Botswana and South Africa. They live in groups of
between twenty and fifty individuals. Each group has a king and
a queen. An adult meerkat weighs about three quarters of a kilo
and is about 30 cm long with a long tail. They have brown noses
and small ears which close when they dig tunnels. Their normal
expression is friendly and thoughtful at the same time.
Meerkats mostly eat insects such as
centipedes but also eat plants, eggs and snakes. Meerkats are
friendly and very clever. When the group hunts or plays, two
meerkats watch for danger. They start barking when they see
danger and all the meerkats run into the tunnels. They have
special cries which mean ‘eagle’ and ‘snake’.
Meerkat parents teach their children how to
eat scorpions and they sometimes have babysitters so they can go
out. When the young leave the tunnels for the first time, the
whole group comes to celebrate the occasion.
There is now a famous TV series called
Meerkat Mansion. It is about the adventures of a real meerkat
group in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana. The show is very
popular in Australia, the US and Britain and there are now three
series to watch.