Meerkat

Suricata suricatta

Classification

  • Domain Eukarya: Includes organisms that are single or multicellular. Have a nucleus.


  • Kingdom Animalia: These are organisms heterotrophs and mullticellular. They lack cell walls that plant cells have. Most of them are capable movement


  • Phylum Chordata: They have bilateral symmetry, segmented body and muscles, and a ventral heart.


  • Subphylum Vertebrata: These organisms have a digestive system and paired kidneys. Their movements are provided by muscles. Includes fishes, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals.


  • Class Mammalia: They have hair and mammary glands and can be found on all continents, oceans, and islands. In this class, organisms have the ability to produce milk by sweat glands by using their mammary glands.


  • Order Carnivora: Have coats of fur that can be in various colors and patterns. The colors can be black, white, orange, yellow, red, gray, and brown. Their fur can be thick or sparse. They are long lived animals and live at least a decade. Organisms in the order Carnivora are medium sized animals.


  • Family Herpestidae: This family includes smaller carnivores. Their claws are not retractable, are usually found brown or gray, and are small carnivores. The fur of these organisms are usually brown or gray and can also be striped.


  • Genus Suricata: This genus only includes meerkat.


  • Species: Suricata suricatta

General Description

  • Height/Length: It can range from 25-35 cm long


  • Weight: 720-731 g or 0.72-0.73 kg


  • Color: It is light gray above, with thick, dark, reddish underfur. The belly has white sparse fur. The back is marked with about 8 black stripes and the tail is yellowish with a black tip.


  • Natural range: They mainly in the tip of Africa in the savannas and open plains.


  • Diet: Meerkats mainly eat insects. They will sometimes eat eggs or plant matter. They sometimes eat reptiles and birds.


  • Habitat Description: They live dry sandy places and sometimes in rocky areas.


  • Predators: The most feared predators that Meerkats have are hawks and eagles.

Physical Adaptations

Meerkat's fur is a gray/tan color which helps it camouflage with its surroundings. Since its habitat is a savanna or open plain and the habitats are a tan/gray color like their fur then they blend in. Also, their eyes have a clear protective membrane. This helps them be able to dig their burrows without the dirt in their eyes. They also have dark patches around their eyes to reduce the glare of the sun so they can see far distances. This is how like what a baseball player paints the dark lines beneath their eyes. The Meerkats also have a dark-skinned belly covered with a thin layer of fur. Dark skin helps to soak in the warmth. This helps their bellies to be warm.

Behavioral Adaptations

Meerkat's behavioral adaptations can help it from danger. While Meerkats find food and eat it, another Meerkat will keep a constant guard for predators. If a predator does show up it will give a distinct bark to warn it is coming. After that they will run to the nearest tunnel/burrow. Meerkats also close their ears while digging to keep the dirt out of their ears to hear be able to hear the bark. Meerkats can smell when its prey is around. This helps it find prey easier so they don't starve.

References

Suricata suricatta meerkat. (2013, May 22). Retrieved March 11, 2015, from

http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Suricata_suricatta/#behaviorhttp://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Suricata_suricatta/#behavior

Burton, M. (2002). Meerkat. In International wildlife encyclopedia (3rd ed.,
Vol. 12, pp. 1595-1597). New York, NY: Marshall Cavendish

http://eol.org/pages/311580/overview

BBC News. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2015, from Meerkat website:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/search?q=meerkat

Meerkat. (2015, February 2). Retrieved March 19, 2015, from Cincinnati zoo
website: http://cincinnatizoo.org/?s=meerkat

Suricata suricatta. (n.d.). Retrieved March 19, 2015, from Eol website:
http://eol.org/pages/311580/overview

http://www.animalfactguide.com/animal-facts/meerkat/