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Meerkat (Suricata suricatta) is a kind of omnivorous mammal from the mongoose family. It inhabits areas of the southern part of Africa, especially the Kalahari desert. They lead day-time life, usually in flocks of up to 30 individuals consisting usually of two or three family groups. They live on defined territory.

Meerkats are small - the length of their body is 25-35 cm, they attain a weight of 730 g. Interestingly, the tail grows to 17-25 cm.

They give birth to young at any time of the year, even up to three times a year. Pregnancy lasts 11 weeks, with a litter of usually 2 to 4 young.

They have a highly developed social behaviour and have many anti-predator defensive behaviours - from alarms to active group defense against attacking predators. Also, the older meerkats teach the young how to handle the prey, organising for them a “school of hunting”.

This is one of the favourite species from the visitors - everyone probably remembers Timon, who was a meerkat, from the Lion King film!


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