Friday, October 06, 2006

Meerkat goodness

Listening to: Crystal Ball by Keane

Quite a few hits to this website are meerkat related, probably due to my user name and blog title since there is very little here about meerkats. I feel obliged to provide a little meerkat info if only to make that hit worthwhile and talk about one of my favourite animals :)

1. Google this:
'emo meerkat'
I don't know why anyone would but someone did, and look what happens! Weird :P

2. It is my understanding that there is now a full meerkat group at the Melbourne Zoo. Last time I went a few years ago there wasn't. The matriach had died. This caused so much in fighting that the remaining group was relocated to join an existing group at Werribee Zoo. At the time when I visited there was a solitary meerkat on display. Not a natural situation since they need to have someone on sentry at all times. I watched this little fellow eventually nod off, asleep on a log. Cute, funny and a bit sad too. Aww.

3. Meerkats are not totally immune to the poisons of their prey. With scorpions they will nip off the stinger. With snakes it may look like they've taken a hit but in fact they've dodged it. As those of you who have been watching Meerkat Manor know, a meerkat can survive a bite but not without some suffering in the meantime. I suspect the ingestion of enough poisonous prey may provide some immunity. As long as there are no internal lacerations for the poison to enter the bloodstream it is safe for a meerkat to ingest it.

4. Meerkat Manor quotes the Cambridge University study as being 10 years long. It's actually older, starting in 1993. There was an article in National Geographic, September 2002 about the study in which the University of Pretoria is also involved. Why study them? To provide insight into the evolution of mammalian cooperation. Meerkats are the very model of this.

5. You can buy one as a pet in Madrid for E1000. I very much doubt you could own one in Australia. Apparently you have can't have a pet hedgehog here either. [pout] I wouldn't mind a hedgehog :)

Website of the Day

National Geographic, Meerkats Stand Tall

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