Meerkats are actually pretty tough if you look like lunch
Meerkats are highly intelligent - Meerkats are much smarter than they look. A recent study at St Andrews University – Scotland – found meerkats use complex coordinated behaviour, which rivals that of chimps, baboons, dolphins and even humans. They solve tasks with help from their mob but also a bit of independent thought. The study saw meerkats engaged in a wide variety of social and asocial behaviours to solve tasks. In general the social factors helped draw the meerkats into the task, while the asocial processes helped them actually solve it.
Meerkats are omnivores! - You may be surprised to learn meerkats are omnivores – they eat fruit and vegetables as well as animals. Unlike humans, they have no excess body fat stores and therefore foraging for food is a constant activity. Their diet mostly consists of insects, which they sniff out using their enhanced sense of smell. They also eat small rodents, fruit, birds, eggs, lizards and as we’ve seen poisonous scorpions as well as snakes.
The desert is dry but meerkats don’t drink water - Despite living in the desert unbelievably meerkats do not need extra water in their diets. They get all the moisture they need from the insects and grubs they eat. A human would die within 3 – 5 days without additional water.
Meerkats live in all kinds of deserts - Meerkats live in all parts of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, in much of the Namib Desert in Namibia and south-western Angola and in South Africa.
Meerkats have remarkable eyesight - They can spot birds miles away on the horizon! Vision is their most developed sense. They have dark patches around their eyes to cut down glare from the sun and help them see far into the distance. Long, horizontal pupils give meerkats a wide range of vision without having to turn their head around. Meerkats are built for digging and have a membrane that can cover the eye to protect it while they are digging.
Meerkats can grow remarkably old - Meerats can live up to eight years in the wild but life can be harsh and they have many predators. In captivity they live between 12 – 14 years and have been known to live up to 20 years.
The perfect gift for animal lovers, why not adopt a Meerkat
Animal adoption is a great way to support Wales Ape & Monkey Sanctuary, lasts all year and makes for a lovely treat or gift. Treat yourself or buy as a gift for the animal lover in your life.
At Wales Ape & Monkey Sanctuary we have many Meerkats.
The sanctuary rescues and provides a home for many types of unwanted animals, especially primates, such as chimpanzees, gibbons, baboons, spider monkeys, vervets, capuchins, tamarins, macaques and marmosets.
Although we specialise in the care and protection of primates we cannot stand by and see other animals in need of help. You will therefore find meerkats, wolf dogs, horses, donkeys, pigs and others at our sanctuary. All are equally important members of our extended family.