Friday, January 7, 2011

How to find a good look out post? Simples! Meerkats clamber on watching humans to make sure they get the best view


He's clearly a-head of his pack: One of the intrepid meerkats climbs up Natalie Burrard-Lucas to get a better view as look out for the mob

These cheeky meerkats have gone to extra lengths to make sure they have the best view... by using humans as a sentry post.

The clever critters decided to make best use of visitors to their him in a bid to protect its family from being eaten by deadly predators.

Members of every meerkat family perform the role of standing guard while their kin forage for food near their dens.

They stand on their hind legs to survey the dangerous African bush for threats including snakes and hawks.

The ever alert creatures line up so that at the merest hint of danger they can alert their family, who will scuttle quickly to the safety of a nearby bush or rock.

The incredible behaviour was documented on a visit to a family of the animals in the Kalahari Desert, Botswana, by London-based wildlife photographers Will Burrard-Lucas, 27, and brother Matt, 21.

Will's wife Natalie, 27, also accompanied the brothers and was lucky enough to perform the role of sentry post for the vigilant meerkats.

Do you think we've been spotted? The cheeky critter also perches on one of the photographer's hats as he keeps a sharp eye out for predators

360 vision: Four meerkats peer in different directions in the Kalahari Desert, Botswana

He said: 'As soon as they become active they will climb the highest terrain to get a good view of the area.

'In a flash one had climbed on my wife, Natalie. As the tallest thing to hand Natalie's head was the logical place to climb, from the meerkat's point of view.

'She took it in her stride and sat calmly as the meerkat checked the bush for danger.

'It stayed there for about three minutes. We were able to take our pictures by allowing them to come to us rather than us going into their space.'

It wasn't me! The creatures line up in an identity parade shot as other members of the mob forage for food nearby

Groups of meerkats are known as a mob, gang or clan.

They can live up to 14 years and are totally immune to the poison of scorpions, one of their main food sources.

Meerkats are prolific diggers and can shift several times their own body weight of dirt in just a few seconds.

They live in the southern region of Africa and have thrived in Namibia, Botswana and South Africa.

source: dailymail

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