Part of the meerkat social structure requires group members to fulfill important jobs each day. One job is called the sentry. This individual stands at the highest possible "lookout" while the rest of the group searches for food. The sentry sends out a soft, high-pitched call every few seconds to let the busy hunters know they are safe from danger.

  1. What factors do you think would be involved with selecting the sentry each day?

    • Answer

      Answers will vary. The sentry would need to be large and healthy, able to thrive without eating during its time "on duty." It might be a good hunter, one that can quickly make up the lost calories from time spent as sentry.

  • Meerkats have a call for the approach of land predator and a different call for the approach of a predator from the air.
  • Meerkats dig mini-burrows called boltholes throughout their feeding grounds.They can hide in the boltholes when the sentry warns of danger.
  • Meerkats have at least 30 different calls for different purposes.

small hole or tunnel used for shelter.


material, usually of plant or animal origin, that living organisms use to obtain nutrients.


soldier who stands guard to protect something valuable.