At the Orchideeën Hoeve, six meerkats live together with the tortoises in the Meerkat Garden. Every day, the little predators are out and about all day on their own little plot of savannah. While the “sentry” keeps watch on its two hind legs, the others forage for food and are industriously digging the burrows and a network of tunnels. It is a lovely spectacle for people of all ages!
The meerkat (Suricata suricatta) is also referred to as suricate and is a social animal. Meerkats live in the arid regions of South Africa in groups of sometimes thirty individuals. A meerkat has excellent eyesight. The circular black patches around its eyes function like sunglasses and enable it to spot enemies such as birds of prey from far away.
Meerkats are expert diggers and they demonstrate this daily at the Orchideeën Hoeve. They use their muscular paws with long, sharp claws to dig for food in the hard soil and to dig their own burrows and networks of tunnels that sometimes exceed thirty metres in length. During the excavations, there is always one meerkat keeping watch that can warn the group with a whistling or barking sound. The sentry usually positions itself higher up and will remain upright on its hind legs and tail.