They might look cute and cuddly, but at dinnertime these meerkats form a menacing mob. They team up to dig for scorpions, whose stings have no effect on them.
If any predators deserve to be called a mob, it's the meerkats of South Africa.
And that's just what they are called: a mob.
Twenty is a typical size, but some mobs number more than 40.
Meerkats aren't cats. These mammals belong to the mongoose family.
They hunt as a pack, but before they can go on offense, they have to mount a defense.
The reason is simple: at only about two pounds and just a foot long, meerkats are vulnerable to other predators.
So for protection, one member finds a termite mound or shrub and keeps watch.
If the sentry spots trouble, he'll bark.
He'll be relieved in about an hour so he too can forage.
Meantime, he constantly gives the meerkat signal for "all clear."
With the lookout posted, the rest of the mob can come out of their burrow and hunt.
They hunt small mammals, like this squirrel, not always with success.
Insects and scorpions are dietary staples, too.
They'll team up to turn over rocks and help each other dig.
Its fingers are tripped with curved claws, nearly an inch long.
The prize inside the box: scorpion.