Meerkat Messages

Meerkat Messages

The sentry’s communication assures family safety.


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Biology, Geography, Physical Geography

Part of the meerkat social structure requires group members to fulfill important jobs each day. One job is called the sentry. This individual stands at the highest possible "lookout" while the rest of the group searches for food. The sentry sends out a soft, high-pitched call every few seconds to let the busy hunters know they are safe from danger.

Fast Fact

  • Meerkats have a call for the approach of land predator and a different call for the approach of a predator from the air.

Fast Fact

  • Meerkats dig mini-burrows called boltholes throughout their feeding grounds.They can hide in the boltholes when the sentry warns of danger.

Fast Fact

  • Meerkats have at least 30 different calls for different purposes.
Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Jeanne Wallace-Weaver, Educational Consultant
Anne Haywood, National Geographic Society
National Geographic Program
Meerkats, National Geographic Programs
Alison Michel
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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