Size Head-body: males: 24.5-29 cm; females: 26-28.5 cm Weight: 620-797 g Gestation: 70 days Young: 3-7 pups per litter Life span Over 12 years What do I eat? Meerkats mainly eat invertebrates such as beetles, scorpions, spiders and centipede larvae. They will occasionally eat vertebrates including lizards and small snakes. Where do I live? Meerkats are found in western parts of southern Africa, including western and southern Namibia, south-western Botswana, and north and west South Africa. They live in open, arid areas with short grasses and scrub. Breeding Generally only the dominant male and female of a group breed. Between three and seven pups are born in a litter. The pups are born with their eyes and ears closed, and remain in their underground den until they are three to four weeks old. Other members of the group help care for the young. These helpers babysit, groom, feed and protect the pups and also teach them foraging skills when they are old enough. Predators The main predators of meerkats include snakes, jackals and birds of prey such as eagles. Meerkats take turns to be on sentry duty, watching out for predators. The sentries give different alarm calls depending on whether the predator is a mammal, a bird of prey or a snake. If the predator is a mammal, the meerkats run to their nearest burrow; if the predator is a bird, the meerkats crouch, freeze and look up at the sky; if the predator is a snake, the group will get ready to mob the snake, bunching together and rocking back and forth to try to scare off the snake. Conservation Meerkats don’t currently face any major threats, and are found in several large, protected areas.

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