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MEERKATS

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  1. MEERKATS Tamara Murphy LT 130 Spring 2004

  2. What is a Meerkat • Meerkats are small mammals that live in Southern Africa • Meerkats make their homes in grass-lined burrows that are shared with ground squirrels and yellow mongooses. • Scientific Name: Suricata Suricatta • Oakland Zoo: Meerkat

  3. Meerkat Characteristics • Vision: Color, the dark eye markings act like built-in sunglasses • Feet: Non-retractable claws • Ears: Closeable • Height: 12 inches • Weight: 2 pounds • Tail: 8 inches, used to balance the animal in an upright position • I’m a Meerkat http://www.pbs.org/kratts/world/africa/meerkat/

  4. Meerkat Home • Home range: Southern Africa/Kalahari Desert • Dwelling: Grass-lined burrows • Toilet: Common latrine used by all members • Transience: Mob moves several times annually if food supply is depleted

  5. Social Structure • Alpha male: dominate male of the mob, has breeding rights to the alpha female • Alpha female: dominate female of the mob, she is the only one that is supposed to breed • Beta male: subservient male, will leave the group by 3 • Beta female: subservient female, will support the alpha meerkats • Pups: meerkat young, 10 months or younger • Babysitter: watches over young while the rest of the group is foraging for food • Sentry: Watches over the group

  6. Meerkat Communication Meerkat communicate in Three Ways • Scent • Sound: Meerkats have over 20 different sounds • Body Language

  7. Meerkat Diet • Worms • Crickets • Scorpions • Small Rodents • Lizards • Small Snakes • Birds • Eggs • Fruit • Ant larvae (their favorite)

  8. Behavioral Changes of Meerkats in Captivity • They no longer need to forage for food • Space is limited, meerkats will no longer be able to migrate from burrow to burrow, they will live in only one. • Their alert systems are dulled because the absence of predators • Meerkats live longer and grow larger in captivity • Meerkats are know to mate twice a year in captivity

  9. Famous Meerkats • Timone: Featured Disney’s Lion King • Ziziphus of the Lazuli Gang: She is a wild meerkat living in the Kalahari desert. She has been the focus of meaning documentaries.

  10. Summary • What is a Meerkat? • Meerkat Characteristics • Meerkat Home • Social Structure • Meerkat Communication • Meerkat Diet • Behavioral Changes in Captivity • Meerkat quiz Animal Planet :: Meerkat Unmasked