A marauding mob of African meerkats

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As mentioned previously on this blog, meerkats are among my favorite animals because, like prairie dogs and otters, they are the shape and size of puppies and therefore very cute. In fact, all three species – prairie dogs, otters and meerkats – are known to “bark”, just like a puppy. The only time a meerkat doesn’t look like a puppy is when he’s standing up on his back legs, using his tail for balance.

Last week, I referred to a group of meerkats as a “colony” but I have since discovered that this is incorrect. One needs to refer to a group of meerkats as a “mob”, sometimes also “clan” or “gang”. This makes them sound dangerous, like they should be starring opposite the Jets and the Sharks in West Side Story 😉

IMG_3106-WDW-DAK-meercat-sentry-WDW-DAK-meerkat-sentry

This fellow is performing sentinel duties while the rest of the colony forages for insects, small lizards, scorpions, eggs, centipedes and anything else that might be “slimy yet satisfying”, as Timon of The Lion King has been known to describe his diet. Should the sentinel spot a predator approaching, he will emit a warning bark and all the mob of meerkats will scatter into the many “bolt holes” they have built on their territory, so they have a place to hide during such emergencies. The sentry is responsible for emerging first and checking to see if the predators are still there before giving the “all clear” signal.

Last time I visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the sentry posed nicely for me for several minutes before staring at me to signal that the photo shoot was over. Here’s a slide show of the sentry from that visit, along with a clan from 2008.

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BONUS!- the Animal Planet channel has a series called “Meerkat Manor”, and there are some snippets of episodes on YouTube. Season’s 1 through 4 are available from Amazon.com on DVD

Meerkat Manor – Season 1
Meerkat Manor: Season Two
Meerkat Manor: Season Three
Meerkat Manor: Season Four – The Next Generation

Here’s Season One, Episode One snip from YouTube, which explains what the whole ongoing drama serial is about. I hope you enjoy it 🙂

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12 thoughts on “A marauding mob of African meerkats”

  1. Great photo of your sentinel Tink. Meerkats are one of the neatest animals and I used to watch Meerkat Manor all the time. I had first hand experience on their ‘bark’. I was at a local Zoo many years ago and I bent over the enclosure to take a photo of a very cute fellow. I wasn’t that close but it stared straight at me and let out this very loud and scary bark. It startled me so much I just about jumped three feet out of my shoes and almost dropped my camera. Got my photo though and when I look at it I laugh at the memory 😉

    Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

    An English Girl Rambles

  2. I watched every single episode of Meerkat Manor and when you say it sounds like “they should be starring opposite the Jets and the Sharks in West Side Story” you’re spot on! As cute as they were, when two rival gangs were fighting over territory, they could turn mean and nasty.

    As heartbreaking as the show could be at times, you just have to admire how these little critters survive in such a harsh environment (The Kalahari Desert, not Disney, lol).

  3. Great photos and video. I like these little guys. We have them here at our zoo and I always love to visit and just watch them. They have very entertaining personalities.

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