Meerkats are highly sociable animals living in colonies of up to 30 individuals in open ground or scrubland. Weighing only a few pounds, meerkats have narrow, pointed muzzles, coarse gray-brown fur with darker stripes over the back and tail, dark rings around their eyes, and black ears and tail tip. Equipped with powerful claws for digging and capable of excavating their own burrows, they nevertheless prefer to takeover tunnels abandoned by other animals.
Meerkats are active during the day and enjoy basking in the sun. One animal is always designated as a “lookout,” standing on its hind legs to watch for danger. Meerkats feed on insects, millipedes and spiders, which they find mainly by smell. Mice, birds, lizards and snakes are also caught and killed by biting and shaking.