Friday, February 12, 2010

Meerkat Mania

Anybody who has ever watched Animal Planet has probably seen at least ads for their popular show Meerkat Manor.

And yes, they really ARE that cute in person.

One of ours here (a small male shown sitting on me in the lower picture) had a broken arm. You can see his cast on his left arm. He still managed to do what he needed to do, carrying that heavy thing around. The vet took it off finally and the arm is as good as new. He lives in an enclosure with two females.

Meerkats are related to the mongooses that run around on Harnas (more on them another day). They spend most of their time either sunning themselves to warm their bellies (like the picture on the top) or digging tunnels to burrow in. (Although they often just use and expand the burrows of ground squirrels that have been abandoned.)

Meerkats are great to have around the house because they eat all kinds of insects. In fact, when I was here before, I used to invite them into my bungalow so they would clean out all the corners of spiders, scorpions, and other insects. They're good guests, leaving the place better than when they found it.

They do have long sharp claws and razor teeth, though, so they can bite and scratch if you get them upset, but they're pretty sweet most of the time. I like to go into the meerkat enclosure, sit on the ground, and let them crawl up on me. After checking to make sure that I'm bug-free, they usually fall asleep--while making their little "brr, brr" chirping noises (kind of like the Tribbles on the old Star Trek show).

Watch out when they dig, though. They mean business--as in this video.

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