Monday 12 September 2011

Thorp Perrow 7 - Meerkats

The Mammal Centre at Thorp Perrow houses a fascinating animal; the meerkat!

They have such inquisitive faces! The sentries stand guard and warn the whole group of impending danger.

Meerkats belong to the mongoose family. They are very sociable creatures, living in colonies around 20 to 30 strong. The home is an underground burrow and meerkats are proficient diggers with long retractable claws to cut through the earth and ears which can be closed to keep out the excavated soil.

So sociable are these creatures that a meerkat kept in isolation may become hysterical.

A litter can number up to five pups. The young are cared for by the whole colony with the adults taking turns to babysit while others of the group are out foraging. A babysitter will even risk their own life for the pups of another meerkat...

...which must be very reassuring when you're tired out after all of the grooming, chasing, play-fighting and general rough and tumble involved in learning to be a grown up.


  1. Meerkat sounds so much better than its translation "Lake Cat"
    Very good photos! So you went to Botswana to get them? or Australia??

  2. Yes, 'lake cat' or 'marsh cat', from the Afrikaans.

    To photograph these, I went all the way to Yorkshire; Bedale, to be precise.

  3. They certainly look playful! I love the photos of them sitting on their backsides! Like they are "reclining & taking in the sunshine"!

    Blessings & Aloha!
    Thank you also for your comment on Pat's post of the artwork she ordered for her hubby. (& Thank you so very much for following me on my facebook art page :o)

  4. Meerkats seem to have suddenly become very popular - is it something to do with an advert on TV. As my mother would have said, "they look as though they are full of flees" to me.

  5. I've liked them ever since I got a cuddle with one at the Derbyshire Skills Festival in 2008, though I have to say that they are VERY SMELLY!!!!

  6. I have never seen one except in a zoo ! they look so cute when they stand up !

  7. They are ever so cute and deadly opponents to snakes. We see them in the South African bushveld as you already know. Love your gorgeous pictures!