Why Meerkats do not make good pets
“But they are so CUTE and they love you, look how they follow you around and try and cuddle whenever they can! They look just like furry people when they stand on their hind legs. I’d love one as a pet!” What a mistake!
A meerkat, or to give it its proper name, suricate (Suricata suricatta) is an obligatory group-living mongoose species and a solitary meerkat is an easy meal for any hawk or cruising eagle. Young meerkats, unless they stick very close to alert adult group members are unlikely to live the day out, so the fact that they dog your heels has nothing to do with love, it’s purely a survival instinct which is in force 24 hours a day for every day of their lives. Since meerkats can live approximately 15 years this puts quite a strain on the human – meerkat bond for both individuals, to say the least!
See how they sit in the sun, on late afternoons.
Fizzle arrived here as a very confused baby of about 6 – 7 weeks old. He had been bought by a lady in Upington that thought she was buying a baby Ground squirrel, not a mongoose, and had fed him on a vegetarian diet. However, he took to insects in a flash and never looked back. He was a sunny personality and just loved people, especially children. He would go for walks with anyone that he saw walking and this sometimes led him into trouble because he got lost, once for almost a week. His favourite trick was to stand on his hindlegs on peoples’ shoulders from which he would ’guard’ against predators.