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Definition: meerkat from The Macquarie Dictionary

any of several small, burrowing, southern African carnivores, especially Suricata suricatta, with dark bands across the back, related to the mongoose.

Plural: meerkats

Etymology: Afrikaans : literally, sea cat, suricates

Summary Article: meerkat
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Small mammal with long soft grey fur, which is found in southern Africa, and belongs to the mongoose family. A third of its length of 35 cm/14 in is occupied by the tail. It feeds on succulent bulbs, insects, and small vertebrates, and is sociable, living in large extended family groups. Meerkat groups have a dominant breeding pair and up to 23 helpers to assist in the rearing of the babies. The dominant female produces 75% of the young.

The Madagascar cat and Cynictis penicillata are also termed meerkats.

Classification Meerkats Suricata suricatta are in family Viverridae, order Carnivora.

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