Photo by Roberta Stacy

Meerkats are only active when the sun is present and warms the surface of their burrows.  When the weather is overcast, meerkats don’t emerge from their underground burrows.  During the middle of the day, if temperatures are too high, they will return to the burrow to cool off.  Vision is their most developed sense.  They have dark patches around their eyes that act to cut down on the glare and help them see far into the distance.  Long, horizontal pupils give meerkats a wide range of vision without having to turn their head around.  Meerkats are built for digging and have a membrane that can cover the eye to protect it while they are digging. 


These small carnivores also have very special ears that they can close to keep out the sand while digging their burrows.  Meerkats have four toes on each foot and very long nonretractable claws to help them dig.  Meerkats are called the “Solar Panel of the Animal World” because they use their dark skinned bellies to warm up.  Their pale, sand colored coat provides good camouflage against the soil in arid regions from aerial predators.  Their hindlegs are longer than the forelegs, giving the meerkat a sloping posture when walking on all fours.  The tail is used like the third leg.  The tail aids balance while the meerkat stands upright for long periods of time on lookout duty.  The meerkat has sharp eyesight with good color vision.  It can stare hard into a bright sky and spot an aerial predator.  A long, slender body helps it slip quickly down into its burrow when danger threatens.  I would like to thank Michelle Rudig for the wonderful creative idea!  Thanks Michelle!

Photo taken off of Wikipedia Commons (Free domain)       Text around the ear says notice that the ears are short and round this aides to the problem when dust gets into the ear's of a meerkat when digging their burrow.  Text around the eye says pay close attention to the black circles around the eye of the meerkat.  This is to cut down on the glare of the sun in the wild.  Text around the claw says Notice the sharp claws the meerkat has to be able to dig enormous burrows. Photo taken by Amanda Hustad

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