The meerkat or suricate (Suricata suricatta) is a small carnivoran belonging to the mongoose family (Herpestidae). Meerkats live in all parts of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, in much of the Namib Desert in Namibia and southwestern Angola, and in South Africa.
Meerkats forage in groups with at least one sentry on duty at all times. They need to be extremely vigilant while they are out in the open so that they aren’t surprised by predators such as birds of prey or jackals. Meerkats aren’t very tall so they try to seek out the high ground in order to get a better view of their surroundings. The higher the vantage point the better so they will go to impressive lengths to find that perfect lookout post!
These meerkats are completely wild but over time they have become habituated to humans. This means it is possible to gain their trust and get really close to them. When people are around, these clever little creatures take full advantage of the situation and will sometimes climb on top of the nearest person for a better view out over the long grass. Sometimes they just decide that sitting on a warm human is more comfortable that sitting on the coarse sand! Photo: Burrard Lucas