Meerkats are native to South Africa and thrive in grasslands and along desert plains and plateaus. Meerkats do not climb or fly, which makes them perfectly suited for life as burrowing and ground-dwelling mammals. They congregate in groups and make their homes in large underground burrows.
Meerkats are relatively hardy creatures: they survive in desert climates, and can survive harsh weather conditions, such as long heat spells and droughts, but nevertheless are not immune to destruction. Meerkats prefer to have stable communities and living environments, but will move if necessary to find adequate sources of food and water. Meerkats may move several times each year, if needed, to regions outside the Kalahari Desert and surrounding areas of South Africa to follow their prey. Meerkats feed primarily on insects such as scorpions, beetles, centipedes, crickets and spiders. They are omnivorous and may eat grassland vegetation as well as eggs from birds and reptiles, tubers, roots and even small mammals and reptiles. Meerkats live in exclusive family-oriented groups, called gangs, and are often quite territorial. Although they are warm blooded, which means they naturally produce body heat, these mammals rely on the strong rays of the early morning desert sun to supply them with energy and vitamin D.