The Lion King's Timon the meerkat: Five interesting facts about his real-life species

In the wild, you won't find a meerkat making friends with a lion, but they do some odd things with their lives, nevertheless.


Timon the meerkat showcased the animals in The Lion King

The Disney animated movie, "The Lion King," introduced viewers to Timon the meerkat. Since 1994, there have been several sequels and adaptations. In the movies, Simba the lion collapsed from heat and Timon and his sidekick, Pumbaa the warthog helped revive him. The colourful character got up to a lot of antics in the film. In real life, they are active and cute-looking. But they don't always act that way.


Meerkats belong to the mongoose family

Meerkats live in large clans. Collectively, the clans are known as a "mob" and with good reason. They have all-out mobbing wars with other clans and try to steal their territory.


Meerkats look out for their clan

Within a clan, the meerkats take turns to watch out for danger. While others feed, one will climb a tree or termite mound to keep a lookout for danger. After an hour or so, another one will take over so the guard can go and feed.


Their tastiest dish is scary

Meerkats eat small mammals and reptiles, but a favourite, tastiest dish according to a meerkat is a scorpion. Mind you they enjoy a bit of venomous snake now and then too.


Birds use the meerkat call to get animals to abandon food

There's a bird called the forktailed drongo, according to Mental Floss, that mimics the danger call of meerkats. When he see the animals with food the bird gives an alarm call. The meerkats flee, leaving food behind, which the drongo then steals.


The alpha female is a selfish animal

Meerkat clans are rule by an Alpha pair. The female bullies the other females, sometimes killing their pups. But she is selfish too. When there's danger, she makes the lower ranked females go first - like crossing roads.

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