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Place to admire: the Desert

Scientific name: Suricata suricatta

IUCN-status: Least concern


Meerkats live in dry and open areas in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Mozambique. Here they live mainly in areas with firm to hard surfaces.


Meerkats are well adapted to their habitat. They have long nails, which allow them to dig. They have very strong legs. As a result, they dig out their own weight in sand in less than 1 minute. In addition, they have black spots around the eyes. This protects them from bright sunlight.

Social behavior

Meerkats live in groups up to about 30 Meerkats. They live in hierarchy. Everyone has their own task, such as looking for food, protecting the young or keeping watch, for example.

The watchmen have an important task within the group. They must warn the others when danger threatens, so they quickly flee into their burrows.

Natural behavior

Meerkats construct different rooms in their burrows, such as bedrooms, nurseries and even toilets. In nature, Dung beetles clean the toilets. They roll the feces outside. This is where the Dung Beetles lay their eggs.

The burrows provide a safe place for the Meerkats, but also protect them from the cold. In fact, the constant temperature is around 23° Celsius.

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