Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

What Threatens Meerkats?

February 20, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 905

Like all wild animals, meerkats face a variety of threats, but what are the main dangers a meerkat is likely to face? The biggest threat to meerkats is predation, but they also face threats from rival meerkat clans, diseases and the climate.

Birds of Prey

There are several different kinds of predators that target meerkats, and they attack in a variety of ways. The most dangerous of the predators though, is the martial eagle; it has a six foot wing span, and is large enough to target adult meerkats. What makes it more dangerous is the speed at which it flies and swoops down; it's so fast that meerkats often don't have time to run for cover, even if they see it coming.

But the martial eagle isn't the only predator soaring above, there are many other birds of prey in the sky. While they're mostly too small to go after the adults, they're all happy to feast on a helpless meerkat pup, given the opportunity.

Land Predators

Meerkats might be predators, but they're not at the top of the food chain. There are a couple of predators on the ground that'll gleefully snag a meerkat, given half a chance. They are side striped jackals, and servals. The jackal is a kind of wild dog, and the serval a wild cat. They're not large predators like lions, but they're several times the size of an adult meerkat.

Both jackals and servals have to sneak up on meerkats, if they want any chance of a meal. One on one a meerkat has no chance, but they live, and fight, in large groups. If the meerkats spot a jackal or serval coming, they're safe. Jackals and servals might be larger, but thirty sets of claws and teeth can do some serious damage.

Rival Clans

While meerkats can usually avoid predators, they often have to fight rival clans to defend their territory. Meerkats depend on their territory for food, so when rivals stray too far in search of food, it's battle stations for the meerkats, if they're not badly outnumbered.

Meerkats have sharp claws and teeth, so the fighting can get vicious, and it's not unusual for meerkats to get killed in these skirmishes. And because meerkats identify each other by smell, it's common for them to attack family members when the battle is over, since they're covered in the scent of the enemy.


Meerkats are susceptible to rabies, and it's around in the wild population. Rabies is a viral infection that makes the brain swell, it's a horrible way to go, usually leaving the infected animal unable to eat or drink, until eventually it dies. While the rabies virus is around, it hasn't reached endemic proportions.

The other main disease being tracked is tuberculosis(TB). Many people suspect that foreign tourists are responsible for introducing TB to the meerkat population, although it can't be proven. However it was introduced, meerkats are now passing it to each other, with lower ranking group members more at risk, because they spend more time grooming their fellows.

The Weather

The last threat is from the weather; a freak storm will often flood meerkat burrows, and if it happens while they're sleeping they can drown. Death from floods is rare though, and heavy rain tends to help the meerkats overall, because it brings the creepy crawlies to the surface, providing plenty of easy food.

Sue Ricatta is the owner of, where you can learn all about meerkats, and discover how these fascinating animals survive in the desert.

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article
1 vote(s)

Article Tags:



Meerkat Predators




Meerkat Diseases

As a consequence, they are better placed to fight any disease effortlessly. Alternatively, you can give them organic and natural food.As a consequence, they are better placed to fight any disease

By: Simon Liva l Pets > Dogs l December 11, 2012 lViews: 251

The captive parrot population is exploding and so is the neglect and abuse, breeders, Bird Food Manufacturers all seek to keep this trend growing in the name of profits,with no regard for the

By: Ray McLennan l Pets > Birds l November 16, 2012 lViews: 766

The Cardinal is the Kentucky state bird. Many people love watching them in their backyards but are not familiar with the facts about this Northeastern bird. They are stunning against any background

By: Jack l Pets > Birds l October 31, 2012 lViews: 245

Establishing and maintaining good levels of oral health is important for both humans and animals to ensure they can enjoy a quality of life. Each part of the mouth area, from the teeth to the jaws,

By: Edward Swan l Pets > Dogs l October 27, 2012 lViews: 228

There's more to keeping your dog at home than just installing an invisible pet fence and hoping for the best. Take steps to train your dog so he understands and accepts his boundaries.

By: Penny Q Jones l Pets > Dogs l July 06, 2012 lViews: 261

Dogs face many complications and diseases during their lifetime and effects from parasites are one of them. This article entails some significant features that can help you understand the importance

By: Kannoujia Tapas l Pets > Dogs l July 05, 2012 lViews: 261

As an exotic pet, the sugar glider is more rare and harder to purchase than the average animal. Adoption is a more cost-effective option of obtaining this tiny mammal, however it is by no means a way

By: Mike Brennenl Pets > Exoticl June 05, 2012 lViews: 407

Hedgehogs as pets can be entertaining and endearing, but if you want to make the most of caring for one of these fascinating rodents, you should inform yourself of their living requirements. Feral

By: Alan Stablesl Pets > Exoticl June 05, 2012 lViews: 257

It is highly recommended that you conduct some research before making an investment in a pet sugar glider. There are some misconceptions about this exotic pet on the part of both consumers and

By: Mike Brennenl Pets > Exoticl June 01, 2012 lViews: 262

So you just found a web site or public auction of exotic pets available for sale and made the decision you would like to purchase that adorable Chimpanzee or that awesome Tiger for your home. Stop.

By: Robert A Diasl Pets > Exoticl May 27, 2012 lViews: 311

If you want to purchase a rabbit for yourself or your child but insist on leaving it outdoors, this is a very good sign that a rabbit may not the best choice for you. There are several reasons for

By: Diana Fairbrotherl Pets > Exoticl May 24, 2012 lViews: 265

This article explores various types of exotic pets, some of which you may have never heard of. Although there are laws around owning certain exotic pets, there are still several that you can legally

By: Dexter Matthewsl Pets > Exoticl May 17, 2012 lViews: 364

All species face a fight for survival, and disease is one of the biggest killers. Discover what diseases meerkats are threatened by, and what's being done to help them.

By: Sue Ricattal Pets > Exoticl March 11, 2012 lViews: 2550

Different species use different reproductive strategies to ensure that their offspring survive long enough to create the next generation. Some species have thousands of babies, and give them no

By: Sue Ricattal Pets > Exoticl February 21, 2012 lViews: 536

Discover why meerkats are such social animals, what life is like inside a meerkat clan, and how new clans form. Find out these answers, and learn more about Africa's cutest predator.

By: Sue Ricattal Pets > Exoticl February 19, 2012 lViews: 293