Meerkat (Suricata Suricatta)
The Meerkat is native to the Kalahari Desert in South Africa. Here, the squirrel sized animals live life spans of 12-14 years. They live in groups of families called gangs or mobs, that live in underground burrows. The social structure of these gangs are complex, with one dominant pair that produces large amounts of offspring. The Meerkat, also known as the Saricat, is a type of Mongoose. They stand on hind legs like most Mongoose but only have four toes instead of the normal five. Meerkats have light brown fur with stripes going down the back. They have dark skinned stomachs that allow them to warm themselves in the desert sun. Other modifications that help the Meerkat survive are the dark patches of fur under their eyes that lessen the sun glare allowing them to see. Their diet consists of mostly insects, but they also eat small rodents, fruit, birds, eggs, lizards, and even poisonous scorpions. Currently the Meerkat is not endangered and at low risk of becoming endangered.