Why doesn’t the Meerkat get stung when eating scorpions?
The Slender-Tailed Meerkat (Suricata suricatta) is a small mammal in the Herpestidae family of meerkats. The Meerkat is a small Mongoose. It lives in the deserts of southern Africa.
The Meerkat digs for food, such as lizards, snakes, scorpions, spiders, eggs, small mammals, centipedes, and millipedes.
Scorpions live in the deserts of southern Africa too. They have a venomous tail. The Meerkat is immune to (not affected by) the venom of the scorpion. Also, Meerkat parents teach their young to hunt and eat scorpions.
The female Meerkat has 1-4 babies, called pups. The pups open their eyes after 10-14 days, and leave the burrow after about 30 days. They feed on their mothers’ milk for 49-63 days. After that, the pups learn how to catch, kill, and eat small prey, including scorpions.
The Meerkat parents hunt scorpions and bring back the dead, or nearly dead scorpions, to their pups. The parents allow their pups to practice killing the scorpions without getting stung by their venomous tails.
Location of photographs: London Zoo, England and Kenya
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM