- Scientific Name:
- Suricata suricatta
- Park Location:
- Lost Kingdom
- Southern Africa
- A group of Meerkats is called a ‘mob’ or a ‘gang’!
- Meerkats eat mainly insects, lizards and mice, but their immunity to venom enables them to eat scorpions and snakes, including the venom!
- Meerkats’ curved front claws act as shovels and they can move several hundred times their body weight in sand in one day!
The Meerkat is a small mammal and member of the Mongoose family. They originate from the Kalahari Desert in Southern Africa.
They are sleek furry animals about the size of a squirrel. They grow to about 1 foot (25-35cm) tall and weigh about 2lb (1kg). Their eyes are surrounded by black patches that act as sunglasses and enable them to see very clearly even on bright days. Their small black ears are able to close when digging preventing sand from getting in.
Meerkat society is one of the most advanced in nature. Members of the group take it in turns babysitting, foraging for food, teaching infants and watching for danger. They possess a vocabulary of some 20 sounds all with different meanings to allow them to communicate with the group.
In a mob, only the dominate male and female will breed. After 11 weeks gestation, 2 - 5 young are born. The entire group will then take care of the young. At about 2 years of age, the males will voluntary disperse to form a new group with unrelated females.
There are no major threats to the meerkats. Across its range, meerkats are found in large and protected areas.