Meerkats are scared of anything that will eat them. Snakes and birds are two things that eat a lot of meerkats, so meerkats always have guards standing on their hind legs looking around for snakes, and looking up in the sky for hawks and eagles. Other predators include different kinds of cats (caracals and wildcats) and dogs (foxes and jackals). Like most animals, meerkats are also scared of anything that is unfamiliar, or that they don't recognize. The scientists who have been studying meerkats for the past few decades are now familiar to the animals, but if they do something unusual or bring in some odd new equipment, the meerkats will be scared. One scientist wrote about a time when his hat blew off of his head in a high wind - the meerkats thought the hat was something dangerous, and they all ran over to try to drive it away the same way they would attack a snake!