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The Meerkat (Suricata suricatta) is a small mongoose. Lightweight, slender and with muscular limbs and a long tail, it is quite different from the rest of its family.
Sociable and easy to domesticate, it has a highly developed sense of smell and is characterized by being a curious and inquisitive species.
It appeared in the arid regions of Africa around two million years ago.
With broad, rounded head and dark eyes, pointed snout and hind legs thicker than the front ones, these mammals are essentially diurnal and territorial. Its body coat is light brown, with brown and reddish spots on the back.
It is distributed mostly in southern Africa, along dry, open savannas or plains.
They are highly socially organized. Meerkats form large, egalitarian colonies of about ten individuals. As soon as food resources become scarce or depleted, they do not think twice: they migrate to find a new, more favorable terrain.
Their diet is based on insects, small rodents, lizards and snakes. One of them always acts as sentinel of the group, standing on its hind legs; in this way, they remain protected (as soon as they detect danger, the watchman alerts the rest). It is affectionately called "desert sentinel", given its habit of constantly taking care of the group.
Its favorite hobby is sunbathing, both in winter and summer. The breeding season and number of litters will depend on rainfall and the availability of sustenance.
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