This is an adorable, sweet, lovable mammal that comes from Africa. They are disarming, endearing and engaged with their surroundings. Their lifespan is usually six to seven years with a trade-off in captivity of between ten to fourteen years. Their group which is given the name clan or mob consists of as many as twenty although very occasionally it will sometimes grow to numbers nearing fifty. The meerkat belongs to the mongoose family and survives mainly on a diet of insects. They will as their family genus (mongoose) suggests, also take the occasional snake or lizard to eat and they love eggs. They have litters up to four times a year and the litters range from one to five pups. Although, as in other animals that survive in groups there are a stronger male and female known as the ‘alphas’ who are usually the only breeding pair, most of the remaining females produce milk and will help to feed the youngsters of the clan to assure its success.
The meerkat will sometimes actually share a burrow with other animals. There is a primal guard at the entrance of the burrow usually referred to a sentry, who constantly checks for the safety of the rest of the unit and is ever ready to give a warning call.
This little meerkat is from Durrell Wildlife Park (Jersey Zoo), Les Augrès Manor, The Channel Islands