The meerkat as a pet
Many people when they know the meerkat wonder if it is possible that this is a pet since it is a wild animal. The truth is that meerkats are small carnivorous mammals that inhabit semi-deserted areas that surround the deserts of the Kalahari and Namibia.
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They belong to the same family of the mongoose, the Herpestidae and live in very socialized colonies of several individuals, so we can realize that they like to live in community.
By not being a mammal in danger of extinction, it is normal to ask if you can have a meerkat as a pet. In the YourCatCareguide we will give you the answer to this doubt in this article on the meerkats as a pet .
The domestic meerkats
The truth is that the meerkats because of their sociable character can be adopted as domestic animals, but if this happens, it must be under strict and specific conditions.
Since they live in colonies, one should never adopt a single suricata, it is necessary that at least adopt a couple of them . If you adopt only one copy, although at the beginning you may appear friendly while you are young, when you grow up you can become aggressive and can bite quite painfully.
They are very territorial animals, so you must adopt two at a time and do not bring some other time spent home, as it is likely that afterwards they will fight and attack in a serious manner.
Preparation of the house for the meerkats
The meerkats are very sensitive to low temperatures and humidity , since they come from typical desert climates, thus not supporting neither cold nor excessive humidity. That is why meerkats can only live comfortably with people who own a large, moisture-free garden. In addition, you should surround the perimeter with metal mesh. A dry habitat is more ideal than a humid one.
It is unacceptable to permanently close a meerkat in a cage, never think of having a meerkat as a pet if your intention is to permanently close it. People who think about adopting this animal should do so for the sake of animals and to allow them to live in a free way thus enjoying their natural behavior.
Now if you put the big cage or big house in the garden, always with the door open so that the meerkats can come and go at will and turn it into their hiding place, this is already different and no problem. You should put food, water and sand in the house for the meerkats to sleep at night.
If you have the necessary resources you can even create a nest that looks natural, so that the animals feel really comfortable in their new habitat.
Habits of the meerkats
Meerkats like to take prolonged sunbathing. They are very active beings who like to drill, so there is always the possibility of escaping under the fence.
If one is thinking of having two loose meerkats in your apartment, you should be aware that it is the same as having a crazy demolition equipment in your house, it is something terrible for the animal that should not be carried out in any case. The debris from the furniture caused by the cats with their nails will be nothing compared to the total destruction that closed meerkats can cause.
As we have already said, it is an animal that should only be adopted in certain situations, if we have a suitable habitat and if we think first of his personal benefit. You should not be selfish and adopt an animal if you can not properly care for it.
Feeding of domestic meerkats
Approximately 80% of the food of the meerkats can be the top quality food for cats. You should alternate between dry and moist food.
10% should be fresh fruits and vegetables: tomato, apple, pear, lettuce, green beans and pumpkin. The remaining 10% of your feed should be live insects, eggs, rats and 1-day-old chicks.
You should not give him citrus
In addition, meerkats need fresh water every day served in two types of container: the first should be a drinking fountain or bowl as the usual for cats. The second will be a bottle-like device, as used for rabbits.
The meerkats at the vet
The meerkats need to be given the vaccine of rabies and distemper, identical to that of ferrets. If your veterinarian considers it convenient, you will be advised to advise you if you need any further vaccine.
It is also worth mentioning that, as responsible owners of the animal’s life, it is imperative to place the chip as in ferrets .
The average life in captivity of meerkats ranges from 7 to 15 years, depending on the treatment that these small and beautiful mammals receive.
Interaction with other animals
Talking about relationships in the meerkat case is a bit difficult. As we have already mentioned, the meerkats are extremely territorial , so they can get along with our dogs and cats, or they can kill them. If the dog or cat is already home before the arrival of the meerkats, it will be more feasible the coexistence between both species.
The meerkats are very active and playful, if they get along well with other pets you can enjoy very funny moments watching them play. However, if they are poor, remember that the meerkat is a small mongoose, which means that it is not afraid of anything and that it will not move away from the presence of a Mastiff or any other dog, however large it may be. The meerkats in the wild face venomous snakes and scorpions, winning most of the time.
Interaction with humans
It is imperative that you adopt your meerkats from accredited breeders, refuges or animal centers from circuses or zoos. It is important to note that they should never adopt wild meerkats , they would suffer a great deal (even dying) and would never be able to domesticate them and gain their affection.
Having said that, you should choose whenever you can, very young copies that will fit you and your pets better.
If you do everything well and if your habitat is ideal, they are very playful and kind animals that will want to play with you, which will scratch your belly until they fall asleep in your arms. Also, the fact that they are diurnal animals means that they are sleeping at night, as is the case with other pets.
One final piece of advice for all who wish to adopt a meerkat is that they should be well informed and provide their new family member with the attention they deserve and need. You should not be selfish and you want to have a nice animal to close it or make you spend a bad life with you.