The meerkat is a small mammal in the mongoose family. They are also known as suricates. Their body is 10-14 inches long plus a tail of 7-10 inches with females being a little larger than males. Meerkats can live 12-14 years in captivity and less in the wild.
They are mainly carnivores, but also sometimes eat fruit and plants. Their favorite foods are beetles, caterpillars, spiders, and scorpions. They also eat small reptiles, birds, and eggs.
They live in the desert in southern Africa in large burrows which they dig themselves in groups of 3 to 50 meerkats. A group of meerkats is called a mob, clan, or gang. They even have gang wars with rival groups of meerkats which can be quite deadly.
They always have to watch for predators and rival meerkats and work really well together to protect the group. When they are out during the day foraging for food, one meerkat will stand guard and watch for danger. Another meerkat will stay in the burrow all day and protect the pups. These jobs rotate so each meerkat has a chance to forage for food.
Check out this National Geographic video!