The Ultimate Meerkat Generosity Quiz
by Staff
Meerkats seem to be one of the most generous creatures on Earth, humans included. They not only share their food, but babysit, too. Take this quiz to learn more about the helpful behavior of meerkats.

Which of these terms best describes the meerkat's unique society?

  • hardworking
  • cooperative
  • harmonious

Where do meerkats live?

  • in the African desert
  • in the Brazilian rainforests
  • in the Asian tropics

In terms of placement on the food chain, where would you put meerkats?

  • at the top
  • at the bottom
  • in the middle

Meerkats primarily eat insects and:

  • mice
  • snakes
  • lizards

Scientists trace the ancestry of meerkats to the mongoose. What seems odd about this connection?

  • The mongoose eats only leaves and grasses whereas the meerkat eats insects and lizards.
  • The mongoose stands on all four legs whereas the meerkat stands upright on two.
  • The mongoose lives alone whereas the meerkat is a very social animal.

At what age do meerkats start to take care of themselves?

  • at a few weeks old
  • at a few months old
  • at one year old

If a young meerkat begs for food from an adult that is not its parent, what happens?

  • the adult meerkat will attack it
  • the adult meerkat will feed it
  • the adult meerkat will ignore it

What is the name of a group of meerkats that breaks away from an existing gang to form a new one?

  • an offshoot group
  • a breakaway group
  • a dispersal group

Where do meerkats run to when the sentinel alerts them to danger?

  • to bolt-holes that they have built for this purpose
  • to dry river-beds
  • to grasses and shrubs in the sand

Which meerkat is charged with the job of sentinel?

  • the dominant male
  • the dominant female
  • any subservient one

When a sentinel meerkat sounds the alarm, is it more or less likely to escape from the danger?

  • Studies show that he will succeed in escaping only 50 percent of the time.
  • Studies show that he will almost always be killed for the sake of the group.
  • Studies show that he will almost always succeed in escaping.

In a meerkat gang, who produces 80 percent of the litters that survive?

  • all the females in the gang
  • one dominant female
  • the alpha female (about 70 percent) and the beta female (about 10 percent)

Shortly after giving birth, what will a mother meerkat often do?

  • go foraging for food
  • leave the gang
  • settle in for a months-long rest

Who pup-sits for the new mother?

  • the dominant father
  • subservient males and females
  • subservient females

Are all meerkats equally as helpful?

  • No, only the females.
  • No, some are "lazier" than others.
  • Yes, they all pitch in equally.

Pup-sitting meerkats sometimes act as:

  • nursemaids
  • sentinels
  • foragers

Sometimes a pup-sitter is already lactating, but has no babies. How is this possible?

  • It's not possible. She only lactates spontaneously upon being charged with the role of pup-sitter.
  • Hers might have been killed by the very mother she is pup-sitting for.
  • Her lactation system develops concurrently with the mother's throughout the latter's pregnancy.

For those who are altruistic in meerkat society, is there usually any reward?

  • neither
  • reward
  • risk

Scientists view meerkat altruism as automatic, yet inexplicable. Why?

  • because meerkats display altruism acceptingly even at their own expense or risk and scientists can't explain this phenomenon
  • because meerkats display altruism only under certain unpredictable circumstances
  • because meerkats display altruism only up to a point

Philosophically speaking, meerkats might be considered purely altruistic, because they give even at risk to themselves with no apparent gain. Which philosopher suggested that such a phenomenon cannot exist?

  • John Stuart Mill
  • Bertrand Russell
  • Immanuel Kant