The meerkat or suricate (Suricata suricatta) is a small carnivoran belonging to the mongoose family (Herpestidae). It is the only member of the genus Suricata. Meerkats live in all parts of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, in much of the Namib Desert in Namibia and southwestern Angola, and in South Africa. A group of meerkats is called a "mob", "gang" or "clan". A meerkat clan often contains about 20 meerkats, but some super-families have 50 or more members. In captivity, meerkats have an average life span of 12–14 years, and about half this in the wild.
|A mob of meerkats at the Tswalu Kalahari Reserve in South Africa.|
"Meerkat" is a loanword from Afrikaans (pronounced [ˈmɪərkat]). The name has a Dutch origin, but by misidentification. In Dutch, meerkat means the guenon, a monkey of the genus Cercopithecus. The word meerkat is Dutch for "lake cat", but although the suricata is a feliform, it is not of the cat family; the word possibly started as a Dutch adaptation of a derivative of Sanskrit markaṭa = "ape", perhaps in Africa via an Indian sailor on board a Dutch East India Company ship.
In early literature, suricates were referred as mierkat. In colloquial Afrikaans, mier means termite, and kat means cat. It has been speculated that the name comes from their frequent association with termite mounds or the termites they eat.
Three subspecies are currently recognized:
|Image||Scientific name||Common Name||Distribution|
|Suricata suricatta suricatta||Southern African meerkat||native to southern Namibia and Botswana, and South Africa.|
|Suricata suricatta iona||Angolan meerkat||native to southwestern Angola.|
|Suricata suricatta majoriae||Desert meerkat||native to the Namib desert and central and northwestern Namibia.|
The meerkat is a small diurnal herpestid (mongoose) weighing on average about 0.5 to 2.5 kilograms (1.1 to 5.5 lb). Its long slender body and limbs give it a body length of 35 to 50 centimetres (14 to 20 in) and an added tail length of around 25 centimetres (9.8 in). The meerkat uses its tail to balance when standing upright, as well as for signaling. Its face tapers, coming to a point at the nose, which is brown. The eyes always have black patches around them, and they have small black crescent-shaped ears. Like cats, meerkats have binocular vision, their eyes being on the front of their faces.
At the end of each of a meerkat's "fingers" is a claw used for digging burrows and digging for prey. Claws are also used with muscular hindlegs to help climb trees. Meerkats have four toes on each foot and long slender limbs. The coat is usually peppered gray, tan, or brown with silver. They have short parallel stripes across their backs, extending from the base of the tail to the shoulders. The patterns of stripes are unique to each meerkat. The underside of the meerkat has no markings, but the belly has a patch which is only sparsely covered with hair and shows the black skin underneath. The meerkat uses this area to absorb heat while standing on its rear legs, usually early in the morning after cold desert nights.
Meerkats are primarily insectivores, but also eat other animals (lizards, snakes, scorpions, spiders, eggs, small mammals, millipedes, centipedes and, more rarely, small birds), plants and fungi (the desert truffle Kalaharituber pfeilii). Meerkats are immune to certain types of venom, including the very strong venom of the scorpions of the Kalahari Desert.
Baby meerkats do not start foraging for food until they are about 1 month old, and do so by following an older member of the group who acts as the pup's tutor. Meerkats forage in a group with one "sentry" on guard watching for predators while the others search for food. Sentry duty is usually approximately an hour long. The meerkat standing guard makes peeping sounds when all is well.
A meerkat has the ability to dig through a quantity of sand equal to its own weight in just seconds. Digging is done to create burrows, to get food and also to create dust clouds to distract predators.
Meerkats become sexually mature at about two years of age and can have one to four pups in a litter, with three pups being the most common litter size. Meerkats are iteroparous and can reproduce any time of the year. The pups are allowed to leave the burrow at two to three weeks old.
There is no precopulatory display; the male may fight with the female until she submits to him and copulation begins. Gestation lasts approximately 11 weeks and the young are born within the underground burrow and are altricial (undeveloped). The young's ears open at about 10 days of age, and their eyes at 10–14 days. They are weaned around 49 to 63 days.
Usually, the alpha pair reserves the right to mate and normally kills any young not its own, to ensure that its offspring have the best chance of survival. The dominant couple may also evict, or kick out the mothers of the offending offspring. New meerkat groups are often formed by evicted females joining a group of males.
Females appear to be able to discriminate the odour of their kin from the odour of their non-kin. Kin recognition is a useful ability that facilitates cooperation among relatives and the avoidance of inbreeding. When mating does occur between meerkat relatives, it often results in negative fitness consequences or inbreeding depression. Inbreeding depression was evident for a variety of traits: pup mass at emergence from the natal burrow, hind-foot length, growth until independence and juvenile survival. These negative effects are likely due to the increased homozygosity that arises from inbreeding and the consequent expression of deleterious recessive mutations. The avoidance of inbreeding and the promotion of outcrossing allow the masking of deleterious recessive mutations. (Also see Complementation (genetics).)
Meerkats are small burrowing animals, living in large underground networks with multiple entrances which they leave only during the day, except to avoid the heat of the afternoon. They are very social creatures and they live in colonies together. Animals in the same group groom each other regularly. The alpha pair often scent-mark subordinates of the group to express their authority. There may be up to 30 meerkats in a group.
To look out for predators, one or more meerkats stand sentry, to warn others of approaching dangers. When a predator is spotted, the meerkat performing as sentry gives a warning bark or whistle, and other members of the group run and hide in one of the many holes they have spread across their territory.
Meerkats also babysit the young in the group. Females that have never produced offspring of their own often lactate to feed the alpha pair's young. They also protect the young from threats, often endangering their own lives. On warning of danger, the babysitter takes the young underground to safety and is prepared to defend them if the danger follows.
Like many species, meerkat young learn by observing and mimicking adult behaviour, though adults also engage in active instruction. For example, meerkat adults teach their pups how to eat a venomous scorpion: they will remove the stinger and help the pup learn how to handle the creature.
Despite this altruistic behaviour, meerkats sometimes kill young members of their group. Subordinate meerkats have been seen killing the offspring of more senior members in order to improve their own offspring's position.
When colonies are exposed to human presence for a long time, they will become habituated, which allows for documentation of their natural behavior. It is not unusual for camera crews, who must largely stay still for long periods while filming, to be utilized as convenient sentry posts.
Meerkat calls may carry specific meanings, with particular calls indicating the type of predator and the urgency of the situation. In addition to alarm calls, meerkats also make panic calls, recruitment calls, and moving calls. They chirrup, trill, growl, or bark, depending on the circumstances. Meerkats make different alarm calls depending upon whether they see an aerial or a terrestrial predator. Moreover, acoustic characteristics of the call will change with the urgency of the potential predatory episode. Therefore, six different predatory alarm calls with six different meanings have been identified: aerial predator with low, medium, and high urgency; and terrestrial predator with low, medium, and high urgency. Meerkats respond differently after hearing a terrestrial predator alarm call than after hearing an aerial predator alarm call. For example, upon hearing a high-urgency terrestrial predator alarm call, meerkats are most likely to seek shelter and scan the area. On the other hand, upon hearing a high-urgency aerial predator alarm call, meerkats are most likely to crouch down. On many occasions under these circumstances, they also look towards the sky.
Compare the Meerkat is an advertising campaign on British and Australian commercial television for comparethemarket.com, a price comparison website, part of BGL Group. The adverts feature Aleksandr Orlov, a CGI fictional anthropomorphic Russian meerkat and his family and friends. Orlov is portrayed as being of aristocratic stock and the founder of comparethemeerkat.com: the campaign centres on his frustration over the confusion between his website and comparethemarket.com, playing on the similarity between the words market and meerkat. Orlov's catchphrase is "Simples". Aleksandr Orlov was an alias of Lev Lazarevich Nikolsky, the acting NKVD chief in Madrid in 1936, during the Spanish Civil War.
The campaign, launched on 5 January 2009, was created by advertising agency, VCCP and production company Passion Pictures. The adverts proved popular and became a commercial success for comparethemarket.com, which became the fourth most visited insurance website in the UK as a result. A book featuring Orlov was published in 2010, and other merchandise has been created in tandem with the ongoing campaign.Comparethemarket.com
comparethemarket.com is a UK price comparison website, founded in 2006, that is part of the BGL Group. The website also offers other on-line companies the ability to provide their customers with a co-branded or white labelled comparison service.In 2009 the company launched an advertising campaign featuring a series of meerkat characters, after which it became the third-largest price comparison website in the UK.Fierce Panda Records
Fierce Panda Records is a London-based independent record label, with its first release in February 1994. It also produced a small number of releases that year by now famous artists such as Ash, The Bluetones, Baby Bird and Supergrass. Fierce Panda is also credited with releases by Acres of Lions, Air Traffic, Art Brut, The Blackout, Boy Kill Boy, Coldplay, Death Cab for Cutie, Desperate Journalist, Embrace, Goldheart Assembly, Kenickie, Seafood, Keane, Placebo, The Polyphonic Spree and Shitdisco.
In the autumn of 1997, Fierce Panda formed the sub-label Rabid Badger Records to release more dance oriented music, and in spring 1998 the sub-label Livid Meerkat for post-rock music.
Fierce Panda also had released compilation albums and EPs, whose titles are mainly puns, often in-jokes. In 2006 they announced their decision to cease production of one-off singles, concentrating instead on long-term projects and full-length albums. Dead Disco's 2006 single "Automatic" was announced as the final single. Continuing to release albums however, including "Vivian, Don't" by The Spinto Band, and the debut album from Hatcham Social among many others. On 21 March 2011, the label released the debut album, Chasing After Ghosts, by The Crookes.
Their "Wibbling Rivalry" single, an interview with Oasis' Liam and Noel Gallagher, holds the record for the highest-charting interview single in the UK Singles Chart, reaching number 52 in November 1995.Fierce Panda's highest-charting single was "Emily Kane" by Art Brut, which reached number 41 in May 2005, missing out on the Top 40 by a mere two sales.
2008 saw Fierce Panda set up its management stable which currently includes Albert Gold, Hatcham Social, Longfellow and Felt Tip.In 2012 Fierce Panda also set up a publishing arm, named Fierce Panda Songs.Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory
The Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) is a radio astronomy observatory, located in a natural bowl of hills at Hartebeesthoek just south of the Magaliesberg mountain range, Gauteng, South Africa, about 50 km west of Johannesburg. It is a National Research Facility run by South Africa's National Research Foundation. HartRAO was the only major radio astronomy observatory in Africa until the construction of the KAT-7 test bed for the future MeerKAT array.Houseparty (app)
Houseparty is a social networking service that enables group video chatting through mobile and desktop apps. Users receive a notification when friends are online and available to group video chat. The app is intended for teens who are ready for social media but are not old enough. On average, users spend approximately 51 minutes a day on the app in group or one-on-one chats. It was launched by Life on Air, Inc. in 2016 and is available on iOS and Android mobile devices and macOS devices.Kalahari Meerkat Project
The Kalahari Meerkat Project, or KMP, is a long term research project focused on studying the evolutionary causes and ecological consequences of cooperative behaviors in meerkats. The secondary aims of the project are to determine what factors affect the reproductive success of the meerkats and what behavioral and physiological mechanisms control both reproduction and cooperative behavior. The project is also working on monitoring overall plant and animal populations within the reserve and work with the nearby community of Van Zylsrus in the areas of conservation and sustainable use of resources.Situated at the Kuruman River Reserve in Northern Cape, South Africa, close to the border to Botswana, the project is jointly funded by Cambridge University and the Kalahari Research Trust.List of Meerkat Manor episodes
The episodes of the British documentary Meerkat Manor first premiered on Animal Planet International in the United Kingdom on 12 September 2005. The programme was originally created by Caroline Hawkins, executive producer and series editor at Oxford Scientific Films, and commissioned for Animal Planet International by executive producer and commissioning editor Mark Wild. The original episodes are narrated by Bill Nighy. The Australian and American channels redubbed the episodes using their own narrators. the Australian episodes are narrated by Mike Goldman. In the US, episodes for the first three series were narrated by Sean Astin. For the fourth series, Astin was replaced with Stockard Channing. Meerkat Manor is also broadcast in more than 160 countries.The first 13-episode series concluded on 24 October 2005. With the success of the programme in the UK, Animal Planet began broadcasting Meerkat Manor on its national channels in Australia, Canada, and the United States. The programme premiered in the United States on 9 June 2006, with the first series airing through 25 August 2006. The second series aired simultaneously in both the US and the UK, starting 29 September 2006. The third series premiered in the US on 10 August 2007, followed in the UK on 10 September 2007, and in Canada on 3 October 2007. Because each channel had different broadcasting schedules, the UK sequence of new episodes ended well before those in the US and Canada. The fourth, and final, series premiered in the United States on 6 June 2008 with the subtitle of The Next Generation. It was originally slated to begin airing in the United Kingdom in February 2009, but the premiere was later moved to April 2009.Notable merchandise based on the series include multiple DVD episode sets covering the first three series released in two regions, an upcoming feature film that will be a prequel to the Meerkat Manor series, and a book by Professor Tim Clutton-Brock entitled Meerkat Manor – The Story of Flower of the Kalahari (ISBN 0-297-84484-9).As the show is based in the United Kingdom, this article refers to seasons as series. In the case of changes made in the American broadcast, the title it aired under in the US will be listed below the original title, while meerkat name changes will be noted in the episode summary.List of Meerkat Manor meerkats
The British documentary television programme Meerkat Manor (September 2005 – August 2008), produced by Oxford Scientific Films for Animal Planet International, documented the antics of various meerkats being studied by the Kalahari Meerkat Project. The meerkats live in matriarchal groups led by a dominant couple, who have exclusive mating and breeding rights. The remainder of the group is usually the offspring and relatives of the dominant couple.
In the first three series of the four-series programme, five major groups of meerkats were regularly shown, however, its primary focus was on a group called the Whiskers, one of the largest and oldest of the research groups. Other groups featured were neighbouring rival groups of the Whiskers and groups formed by former Whiskers members. During the first series, a group called the Lazuli were depicted as the Whiskers’ main rivals, with occasional appearances by the smaller Gattaca group. In the second series, the Commandoes were introduced as one of the toughest rivals the Whiskers had ever faced, and by the third, the Commandoes had forced the Whiskers to move. The Whiskers then acquired two new neighbouring groups, the Zappa, with whom they had frequent confrontations, and the short-lived Starsky group formed by a trio of evicted Whiskers females. In the fourth and final series, one of the Whiskers' females formed a new group, the Aztecs.
The meerkat families and individuals are listed in order of appearance with the official names and spellings from the original broadcast of the programme used for their primary identification. Differences in the American or Australian broadcasts are noted as necessary, and the information reflects the state of meerkats at the series's end. Meerkats which only appeared in one or two episodes, are unnamed, or otherwise have no significance in the overall programme are not included.Meerkat (app)
Meerkat was a mobile app that enabled users to broadcast live video streaming through their mobile device. Once signed up, Meerkat users had the option of connecting their Facebook and Twitter accounts, to stream directly to their followers as soon as they went live. The app was available for both iOS and Android.
The app was released in February 2015, and quickly found popularity after its debut on the website Product Hunt, as well as widespread use during the South by Southwest Interactive Festival, both in March 2015.On October 4, 2016, Meerkat was shut down and has been replaced by Houseparty.Meerkat (vehicle)
The Meerkat is the lead vehicle in the Interim Vehicle Mounted Mine Detector VMMD system, which evolved from a system known as Chubby.The system is manufactured by the Rolling Stock Division (RSD) of DCD-Dorbyl, a mechanical engineering conglomerate in South Africa.
The Meerkat resembles a cross between a dune buggy and a grader, with a pair of horizontally mounted rectangular panels, one each side, where the grader's blade would be.
The Meerkat is intended only to detect land mines - the related Husky and its trailers are intended to dispose of detected mines.
With its tire pressures lowered, the Meerkat produces a relatively low pressure on the ground below the tires, enabling it to pass over pressure-sensitive mines designed to destroy heavy vehicles. Even if it detonates a mine, the floor of the driver's cabin is armored and the structural components are designed to be quickly replaced.Meerkat Manor
Meerkat Manor is a British television programme produced by Oxford Scientific Films for Animal Planet International that premiered in September 2005 and ran for four series until its cancellation in August 2008. Using traditional animal documentary style footage along with narration, the series told the story of the Whiskers, one of more than a dozen families of meerkats in the Kalahari Desert being studied as part of the Kalahari Meerkat Project, a long-term field study into the ecological causes and evolutionary consequences of the cooperative nature of meerkats. The original programme was narrated by Bill Nighy, with the narration redubbed by Mike Goldman for the Australian airings and Sean Astin for the American broadcasts. The fourth series, subtitled The Next Generation, saw Stockard Channing replacing Astin as the narrator in the American dubbing.Meerkat Manor premiered in the United Kingdom on 12 September 2005, and the first 13-episode series concluded on 24 October 2005. With the success of the programme in the United Kingdom, Animal Planet started broadcasting it on its national channels in Australia, Canada, and the US. It has since been rebroadcast in more than 160 other countries. The fourth, and final, series aired initially in the United States from 6 June 2008 to 22 August 2008. In August 2009, it was reported that the programme had been cancelled.Although the show faced criticism from viewers for not intervening when a meerkat was injured and faced death, as a whole, Meerkat Manor enjoyed considerable success and was Animal Planet's top series in October 2007, both on the cable channel and through its video-on-demand service. The show's experimental format broke new ground in animal documentary filming techniques and allowed viewers a long term, intimate look into the lives of its meerkat stars, breaking the traditional wall between viewer and subject found with most documentaries. In 2007, Meerkat Manor was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards. It has won three awards at the 2006 Omni Awards, and at the 2006 and 2007 New York Festivals Award Galas. The first three series of the programme have been released to DVD in both Region 1 and Region 2. In 2007, a book entitled Meerkat Manor – The Story of Flower of the Kalahari was released in the UK, detailing the life of Flower and the Whiskers before the series' filming began. A television film, Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins, documenting Flower's birth and rise to matriarch of the Whiskers aired on Animal Planet on 25 May 2008.Shotwell (software)
Shotwell is an image organizer designed to provide personal photo management for the GNOME desktop environment. In 2010, it replaced F-Spot as the standard image tool for several GNOME-based Linux distributions, including Fedora in version 13 and Ubuntu in its 10.10 Maverick Meerkat release.The Meerkats
The Meerkats, also known as Meerkats: The Movie, is a feature-length 2008 British wildlife fiction film which anthropomorphises the daily struggles of a clan of meerkats in the Kalahari Desert. It was produced by BBC Films and The Weinstein Company, and filmed by the award-winning BBC Natural History Unit. It is the debut directorial feature of James Honeyborne, previously a producer of natural history programmes for television. The worldwide premiere was held at the Dinard Film Festival, France in October 2008, expanding to a wide release the following week. The film was released in 2009, on 7 August in the UK. A US date has not yet been announced. This was dedicated to actor Paul Newman, who died in 2008, shortly before this movie was released.Timon and Pumbaa
Timon and Pumbaa are an animated meerkat and warthog duo introduced in Disney's 1994 animated film The Lion King and its franchise. Timon was portrayed through his many appearances by Nathan Lane (in all three films and early episodes of the show), Max Casella (the original actor in The Lion King Broadway musical), Kevin Schon (in certain episodes of the show), Quinton Flynn (in certain episodes of the show), Bruce Lanoil in the Wild About Safety shorts and Kingdom Hearts II, and while Pumbaa is voiced by Ernie Sabella (in all of his animated speaking appearances), and was portrayed by Tom Alan Robbins in the original cast of the Broadway musical. In the upcoming live-action remake, the characters will be portrayed by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen respectively. Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella first came to audition for the roles of the hyenas, but when the producers saw how well they worked together they decided to cast them as Timon and Pumbaa. Lyricist Tim Rice however was pulling for Rik Mayall (for Timon) and Adrian Edmondson (for Pumbaa) to play the roles, as he got the idea for the lyrics to "Hakuna Matata" by watching their show Bottom.
As with many characters in Lion King, Pumbaa's name derives from the East African language Swahili. In Swahili, pumbaa (v.) means "to be foolish, silly, weakminded, careless, negligent". Timon is one of the few characters whose name has no meaning in Swahili; Timon is a historical Greek name, taken to mean "he who respects". Timon's name may also possibly derive from Shakespeare's tragedy Timon of Athens, another Shakespeare reference in a film which derives its plot from Hamlet.
Timon is a wise-cracking and self-absorbed meerkat who is known for claiming Pumbaa's ideas as his own, while Pumbaa has flatulence issues. However, Pumbaa is also a fierce warrior, charging into battle like a battering ram, and taking great offense if anyone who's not his friend calls him a pig, at which point he exclaims "They call me Mister pig!"—a reference to Sidney Poitier's line "They call me Mister Tibbs!" from the 1967 film In the Heat of the Night. Unlike real meerkats, Timon can walk on his hind legs, while in real life, meerkats walk on all four legs and can only stand on their hind ones.Ubuntu version history
Ubuntu releases are made semiannually by Canonical Ltd, the developers of the Ubuntu operating system, using the year and month of the release as a version number. The first Ubuntu release, for example, was Ubuntu 4.10 and was released on 20 October 2004. Consequently, version numbers for future versions are provisional; if the release is delayed until a different month (or even year) to that planned, the version number will change accordingly.Canonical schedules Ubuntu releases to occur approximately one month after GNOME releases, which in turn come about one month after releases of X.Org, resulting in each Ubuntu release including a newer version of GNOME and X.Every fourth release—occurring in the second quarter of even-numbered years—has been designated as a long-term support (LTS) release. The desktop version of LTS releases for 10.04 and earlier were supported for three years, with server version support for five years. LTS releases 12.04, 14.04 and 16.04 are supported for five years, while Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is supported for ten years. The support period for non-LTS releases is 9 months. Prior to 13.04, it was 18 months.Volunteer's dilemma
The volunteer's dilemma game models a situation in which each of X players faces the decision of either making a small sacrifice from which all will benefit, or freeriding.
One example is a scenario in which the electricity has gone out for an entire neighborhood. All inhabitants know that the electricity company will fix the problem as long as at least one person calls to notify them, at some cost. If no one volunteers, the worst possible outcome is obtained for all participants. If any one person elects to volunteer, the rest benefit by not doing so.A public good is only produced if at least one person volunteers to pay an arbitrary cost. In this game, bystanders decide independently on whether to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of the group. Because the volunteer receives no benefit, there is a greater incentive for freeriding than to sacrifice oneself for the group. If no one volunteers, everyone loses. The social phenomena of the bystander effect and diffusion of responsibility heavily relate to the volunteer’s dilemma.Yellow mongoose
The yellow mongoose (Cynictis penicillata), sometimes referred to as the red meerkat, is a member of the mongoose family averaging about 1 lb (1/2 kg) in weight and about 20 in (500 mm) in length. It lives in open country, from semi-desert scrubland to grasslands in Angola, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
Extant Carnivora species