NEW! Christmas Meerkat Gifts and Toys
It's back, the Christmas selection from Meerkats Toys. Lots of Xmas meerkat delights for all the family,plus those all important meerkat Christmas cards and wrapping paper.
We'll be updating it regularly so keep your eyes peeled and keep coming back for a quick pre-Santa peek!
Christmas meerkat toys
Meet the latest addition to the incredibly popular Meerkovo meerkat toys - Baby Oleg.
Discover how to get your paws on this meerkat cutie at our Meerkovo Meerkats Toys page.
So, you could be the proud owner of Oleg - or an Aleksandr, Vassily, Maiya, Yakov, Bogdan or Sergei meerkat cuddly soft toy!
Your UNIQUE online guide to watching meerkats created in response to the loads of emails we got asking, "Where can I see meerkats in the UK?".
Our updated list for 2013 features over 50 zoos, parks and gardens in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland where you can watch meerkats in their own 'manor' this Easter.
You can't buy a real meerkat here, but you can adopt a meerkat in the wild with a special gift pack, helping to conserve these adorable animals in their natural habitat.
Alternatively, you can adopt a meerkat at a UK zoo, and visit 'your' meerkat in person, or even join them in their enclosure at feeding time with a very special Meerkat Encounter gift box.
All About Meerkats
Suricata suricatta or Slender-tailed meerkat
Meerkats, or suricates, are part of the mongoose family, and are natives of the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa.
Meerkats live in colonies (known as mobs or clans) of around 20 individuals, with some clans containing up to 50 individuals. The whole clan share in the job of raising the young, foraging for food, and defending their burrows from snakes, hawks and eagles.
Only the alpha female will breed and raise young, usually in litters of three pups, so that there are always enough meerkats to care for the young that are born, and ensure their survival. Any young females that do breed will be evicted, and may establish their own colony with lone roving males.
Meerkats are omnivores, eating lizards, insects, grubs, small rodents, and fearlessly tackling and eating scorpions and snakes. Adult meerkats are around 1 foot tall when they stand upright on their hind legs, using their long, thin tails as a support to keep them upright for long periods of time.
Meerkats have short tapering snouts, and eyes ringed with black fur, which acts as natural sunglasses against the glare of the African sun. Their long curved claws are perfect for digging for prey, and can also be used to help the meerkat climb trees and branches. A meerkat can close its small curved ears when digging to keep dirt out.
Individual meerkats can be distinguished by the pattern of stripes on their fur, which are unique to each animal. Meerkats' fur is usually sand-coloured with hints of grey, silver and brown, providing good camouflage in their native habitat.
Flickr photo credits: meerkat on mound by Mister-E, baby meerkat by Tambako the Jaguar, meerkat mob by 814 carthage meerkat and son by evanchu