Meerkats are predators. They use various tactics to eat dangerous prey such as toxic millipedes and poisonous scorpions.
  • Meerkats teach their young pups amazing behaviors and survival tactics. Meerkats are predators. They eat dangerous prey such as toxic millipedes and poisonous scorpions. In order to survive these hazardous food sources, meerkats teach the pups to remove stingers and toxins before eating them.

    1. Why does a meerkat need to eat this hazardous animal?

      Millipedes are a good source of protein and fluid.

    2. What clever tactic does the meerkat use to remove the toxic coating from the millipede?

      The meerkat rolls the millipede in the sand.

    3. What do you think would happen if a meerkat ate a millipede without rolling it in the sand first?

      The toxins would make the meerkat sick and weak. If a meerkat is unable to hunt, it will be in danger of dying.

    4. What are some safety tactics human parents teach their young children?

      Answers will vary.

      • Stay away from a hot stove.
      • Don't touch the electric socket.
      • Hold hands with a parent when crossing the street, and look both ways.
      • Don't play with fire, knives, or other items that can be unsafe.
      • Stay a safe distance away from bees or snakes.
      • Don't eat berries or mushrooms you find outside.
    5. How are these tips different from those of the meerkat?

      Answers will vary. Some human parenting techniques involve machines and technologies rather than relying on the natural world. Humans are usually able to control their environment more than meerkats can.

    • One defense tactic used by meerkat groups is to stand upright, puff up their fur, and band together. This forms an intimidating group.
    • Meerkats cleverly defend themselves by stirring up dust (to hide) before they retreat to a bolthole, or temporary burrow.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    behavior Noun

    anything an organism does involving action or response to stimulation.

    food Noun

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

    Encyclopedic Entry: food
    hazard Noun

    danger or risk.

    poisonous Adjective

    toxic or containing dangerous chemicals.

    predator Noun

    animal that hunts other animals for food.

    prey Noun

    animal that is hunted and eaten by other animals.

    survival Noun

    ability to live.

    toxic Adjective


    toxin Noun

    poisonous substance, usually one produced by a living organism.