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Meerkat or Suricate
Suricata suricatta

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Meerkats (also called suricates) are small, burrowing mammals that live on the plains of southern Africa. They are a type of mongoose. In captivity, they have a life span of roughly 10 years.

Behavior: Meerkats live in groups of up to 25 animals (called a "mob" or "gang"). They are fiercely territorial and usually stay very close to their underground burrows, where they live. One meerkat will stand watch in order to warn the group with a shrill cry when a dangerous predator approaches. Hawks, eagles and jackals hunt meerkats. Meerkats frequently sit or stand on their hind legs in an upright position, using their tail as a third leg.

Anatomy: The meerkat is a sleek, furry animal the size of a squirrel. It is about 10-14 inches (25-36 cm) tall and weighs about 2 pounds (1 kg). It has sharp claws which it uses to dig burrows, to scratch the ground for insects to eat, and to catch prey. Meerkats have closable ears.

Diet: Meerkats are primarily insectivores (insect-eaters). They scratch into the ground for insects and insect larvae to eat. They also eat other small animals (like lizards and mice) and some plants.

Classification: Class Mammalia (mammals), Order Carnivora.

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