What is grooming?

It is when animals clean themselves. The reason why they do it is just to keep themselves, their coats, feathers, scales etc in a good hygienic condition. Typical things they would remove are leaves, insects, parasites and any dirt on their bodies.

Cleaning themselves is called personal grooming. Where you get animals like our adorable meerkats, who live in groups or families, they also groom each other which is called social grooming. Meerkats are exceptionally social creatures and spend their whole day together, even when sleeping in one burrow cuddled together.

When grooming, it will look like they are massaging each other and this activity stimulates an endorphin which causes a very relaxing time for the animals. Meerkats also rely on scent and while grooming they will transfer scents to each other, which will then serve as a type of passport to the family. They are territorial and will only allow other members with the same family scents.

Grooming mostly takes place when meerkats emerged from their burrows while basking in the warming morning sun.

Photo & video credits: Micheal Sidor

Introducing the Ranger:      Marinè Dippenaar

Marinè is an ordinary farm girl who has lived her whole life on a farm. Although she always wanted to become a teacher, Mother Nature had her way with her career choice and she started doing a Field Guide course. The passionate way in which her course instructor educated the students about the creatures and critters of the bushveld inspired her, and a deep compelling love for nature started to bloom..