The meerkat, or suricate, is a small diurnal mongoose from the Kalahari and Namib deserts, and much of South Africa. It is stocky for a mongoose, and an excellent digger. These mongooses are highly social and live and forage in family groups of about 20, but occasionally up to 50, individuals. Only the dominant pair mates, the rest of the group help to care for the young. The group will post sentries to keep watch while the rest forage. The group lives in large networks of underground tunnels with multiple entrances. They sometimes share their burrows with yellow mongooses, ground squirrels, or snakes. Meerkats mainly eat insects and other arthropods, and have a resistance to scorpion venom. They will also eat the occasional small vertebrate or raid a nest for eggs. They have different alarm calls for aerial and terrestrial dangers, and for different levels of threat.
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