On its own, a meerkat doesn’t stand a chance against an adult cape cobra. And there is a more serious threat to meerkat families – if the cobra finds the meerkats below ground it can easily dispatch the pups.

Cobras can grow up to 2m long and are extremely venomous. These impressive predators are able to climb trees, survive long periods of drought and are one of the most common snakes in southern Africa where the meerkats live.

However above ground and in a group, meerkats have the advantage. Using a complex system of alarm calls for predators, a meerkat is will immediately alert the rest of the group if a snake is spotted.

Then the group goes on the offensive and will mob the cobra. This teaches the pups to be wary of the cobra and will make the cobra thing twice about approaching meerkats in the future.

See the meerkats in action in Life Story via BBC iPlayer.