On the suricate’s tail

When you are in the Kalahari desert in Botswana, what makes you jump out of bed before sunrise, hop into a jeep and lie on prickly grass holding your camera in an awkward position? The correct reply is “The prospect of getting close encounters with suricates”. (Yes, I’m aware that suricates are also known as meerkats, but since I have to choose one of the two, I opted for suricate.)

You all have seen photos like this:

But I can assure you that the moments they stand still are few and very brief indeed. Well, as the first scout comes out of the family den, just before sunrise, it does sit quite still for a little while, mostly turning its head to survey the surroundings and make sure no dangers are nearby. Other clan members soon join in as the sun rays start warming the air.

The quest for breakfast begins, and I’m having a hard time keeping up with these speedy animals, while trying to get some good shots (very difficult) and avoiding tripping over little mounds or getting my foot into a hole (which might be inhabited).

Mmm, nice smell here, maybe a frog? Or a scorpion?

They do work hard for their breakfast! I can’t say that I have the same energy before my first meal of the day …

In the meantime, some of them have discovered an interesting hole. They look in, jump back, and peep in again. Is there something dangerous …? Or something edible?

It was just a feather.

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