South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana
Meerkats live in large family packs numbering up to 30 individuals. Within the group, there is always a “sentinel” watching for danger from predators. When the sentinel emits a high-pitched alarm, all pack members immediately submerge into self-excavated tunnels for safety. Pack members will take turns with sentinel responsibilities. They are a highly social species, and the pack works cooperatively to rear and care for their family members.
A pack of meerkats will work together to form elaborate underground tunnel systems, with multiple entry and exit points, along with resting, eating and bathroom chambers. The underground areas maintain a cooler temperature than above ground, creating safe and effective areas for offspring rearing.
Meerkats are specialized consumers of insects, arachnids and millipedes. However, they will consume other small mammals, plant matter, eggs and birds opportunistically.