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Meerkats: Standing Tall Steven Fetherolf Strayer University Introduction Standing tall, the small animal scans the sky for predators, his neck extended and head swiveling side to side, ever diligent in the search for anything that may prove a threat to his group of fellow meerkats. At his fullest height, he barely reaches 12”, the average of an adult male in his species. What is this strange animal, looking similar to a mongoose or an elongated squirrel and sporting black “bandit” markings around its eyes that are vaguely reminiscent of a raccoon? What does anyone know of this incongruous, oft-overlooked creature, whose comparable significance to more exotic animals is virtually unknown? If you have watched the television channel…show more content…
This tolerance to venom ensures that the meerkat has little competition for its diet and further allows them to maintain a steady, plentiful supply. Due to the harsh, water-scarce deserts in which meerkats live, finding adequate water supplies is nearly impossible and when present, water is dominated by larger animals that consider meerkats to be a meal. Therefore, the meerkat must make use of available moisture and obtains its requirements primarily through its diet. It has been observed that a gang of meerkats will inhabit underground burrows consisting of numerous entrance and exit holes, multiple sleeping and birthing chambers, and having hundreds of feet of tunnels branching off in several directions, which give them the ability to escape predators who invade their homes. An average gang’s burrow may have well over fifteen separate dens and it should be noted that the number of areas provide them the opportunity to rotate their use every three to four weeks. This rotation is a result of parasite (ticks, ants, fleas) overload, making living conditions both unsafe and unsanitary. Once the parasitic levels have reached a reasonable level, meerkats will re-inhabit the dens. At least one chamber within the burrow is reserved as a bathroom, or litter box, serving as a safe place for relief of bodily functions. It is extremely unsafe for a meerkat to exit the burrow at night to relieve themselves, so having a
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