A meerkat survives by staying with its family and fulfilling its role as a group member. Each day one meerkat acts as a babysitter while another acts as sentry. Groups members also fulfill roles as teachers, showing the pups how to hunt and capture prey. Another important group tactic is working as a unified team against dangers. Following the lead of the matriarch, meerkats fight rival mobs and stand up to dangerous predators.

  1. How do the meerkats overcome the attack of the Cape cobra?

    • Answer

      Meerkats have strength in numbers. As a team, working cooperatively, they appear large and threatening. They intimidate the predator until it backs down.

  • For centuries, meerkats have been praised and revered for their impressive ability to fight off aggressive and dangerous snakes. They do this by "teaming up" on the snake.
  • When the desert air cools, meerkat groups pile into a large cluster to keep warm.
  • The meerkat family, or mob, needs to remain large and unified. Since the litter of pups represents the future strength of the group, a family member will fight to the death to protect the litter.
  • When creating burrows and boltholes, a meerkat quickly digs into the sand and uses its hind legs to push the sand out. As the meerkat digs deeper, other meerkats come and assist, forming a team. The team passes the loose soil upward, toward the opening. There, another meerkat builds a mound where the sentry can stand and keep watch.

small, protected hole in the ground, where an animal can flee when pursued or frightened.


small hole or tunnel used for shelter.


group of organisms that come from the same ancestors and share similar characteristics. Family is also a classification in chemistry and math.


female leader of a family.


animal that hunts other animals for food.


animal that is hunted and eaten by other animals.


soldier who stands guard to protect something valuable.


procedure or method for accomplishing a goal.