The household pets of one part of the globe are the "vermin" of another continent.

Harmless snakes, for example, in many piaces, take the place of the house-dog, and their rat-slaying qualities are by no means to be despised.

There is, however, one pet which is found in almost every farm in some parts of South Africa which is a distinct improvement on the average cat, for example, and which might well become popular in England. This is the "meerkat," scientifically known as the "suricate."

You may see him at the Zoological Gardens - a sharp-faced little chap, trotting briskly up and down his cage, and coming up to the bars to talk to visitors in a most friendly and engaging fashion. A piece of chocolate makes him deliriously happy, and he sits up and nibbles it like a glutton.

He is a distant cousin of the weasel, but is a much more lovable little beast. He is clothed in a suit of long, soft, greyish fur, which on his plump little body assumes a distinctly banded pattern. His bright little face is pale grey in tone, with clearly marked black rings round the eyes, while his grey tail is adorned with a smart black tip.

When you have made a pet of a meerkat he is very little trouble to keep well and happy. He is hardy, and can stand a good deal of cold provided he is dry and can clean himself. When you give him a run in the garden, however, it is as well to keep an eye on him lest he gets into mischief. He will burrow into the beds at an amazing rate, and should he come across any choice bulbs he will probably make a meal off them. The meerkat loves the sunshine, and should be given every chance of basking in it. He will feed on anything. Fruit, meat, and insects all please him.

Little Known Pets Harmless Snakes And Meerkats 1001018

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