Meerkats Become Fat Cats in Large Cooperatives

The fat cats in meerkat society are the ones that thrive on the backs of others. Researchers have found that the larger their social cooperatives the more they are able to spread the duties of rearing their young and standing guard against predators–giving individuals greater opportunities to look for food.

The foot-long (30-centimeter) mongoose that dwells in the Kalahari Desert of southern Africa and dines on everything from scorpions and grasshoppers to small reptiles and birds lives by a philosophy of sharing and caring. And the hallmark of a well-organized group of meerkats is a marked increase in the weight of the individuals.