Product Code: Info Small Mammal
Availability: Find Me At Pets Available
- Country of origin: South African savanna
- Characteristics: Tannish grey fur with black stripes across the back. A meerkats body is approximately 10 to 14 inches long with an 8-inch dark-tipped tail. Females are often larger than the males. They have short legs and, unlike most mongooses, have 4 toes on each foot. The front feet have long non-retractable claws well-adapted for digging. Their small black ears can be folded back to keep dirt out. They have dark-skinned bellies with light fur, which acts as a solar panel to warm them as they sunbathe after cold desert nights. Dark circles around their eyes help to reduce the sun’s glare, as do horizontal pupils, which also give them a wider range of vision. Binocular and color vision help them spot birds of prey from a distance.
- Habitat: Arid and semi-arid regions of southern Africa. In rocky areas they live in crevices, but they’re mostly found in complex systems of burrows that they either dig themselves or acquire from and share with African ground squirrels or yellow mongooses. Their burrow systems have multiple levels, which can be as deep as ten feet with up to 90 entrances. A colony may have up to five separate burrow systems scattered over many miles. Burrows are usually grass lined and, like those utilized by prairie dogs, have a common latrine shared by all.
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