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Meerkat Pups at Burrow Entrance
Suricata suricatta


Kalahari Desert




Meerkat pups are usually born to the alpha female of a clan, but the whole family pitches in and helps take care of them. In fact, lower-rank females, who are usually the alpha female's sisters (in other words, the pups' aunts) will produce milk to help feed the babies. And, when the group goes out hunting for food before the pups are old enough to follow, one family member will stay behind at the burrow to "babysit". Biologists call this type of behavior "cooperative breeding".

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Jen Guyton
NatGeo Explorer, International League of Conservation Photographers Fellow, Ph.D Ecologist
Learn more about Jen Guyton.

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