National Geographic : 2002 Sep
A baby-sitter's embrace can soften life's little indignities-like the ant that turned from would-be snack to lip-biting pest for a newly weaned pup (far left). Staying close means safety and comfort: With a caretaker to share body heat (left), a pup's metabolism can direct more energy to growth and weight gain. Slender-bodied meer kats lose heat easily, a valuable trait for adults foraging in the blistering Kalahari midday. But when desert temperatures plummet after dark, the entire group retreats to the snug security of a burrow (below) and sleeps in a single furry pile.