Meerkats survive in the wild by making homes out of abandoned burrows, foraging by day and sleeping at night, and living in large groups. Their close-knit communal existence helps keep them alive and healthy.
Meerkat burrows are called a gang or mob. They consist of up to 40 meerkats, from adults to infants. Meerkats play and groom together, which strengthens their bonds with each other and helps protect them.
Unlike many animals, meerkats have a matriarchy. A dominant female leads the group in relocating, finding food and settling territory disputes with other meerkat mobs.
Meerkats have a complex and well-defined social hierarchy. Older, subordinate males serve as sentinels and watch for threats. Older siblings babysit the kittens in the burrow. Wet nurses, females that lost their offspring, are allowed back into the burrow to nurse the dominant female's kittens.