(Suricata suricatta)

Meerkats, a mongoose species, live in large groups of up to 30 animals and are native to Namibia, Angola, parts of Botswana and South Africa. They set up camp in underground caves and go on the lookout for food in arid lands during the day.


Southern Africa:

Open arid regions and savannas

Insects, arachnids, amphibians, small reptiles and birds, fruits, eggs

No accurate information about their status available

24.5 to 29 cm

620 to 970 g

Gestation period
Approx. 2.5 months

Achievable age
Approx. 12 years

What you should know about meerkats
The meerkat, which is primarily active during the day, not only likes to enjoy a swim in the sun. They dig burrows up to three metres deep into the earth for the whole family or hunt spiders, beetles and other insects out in the sun. The group is lead by a couple, consisting of the Alpha male and the Alpha female.

Everything at a glance
One of the meerkats from the group always stands guard. This enables the rest of the family to go on the prowl in peace or lie around lazily in the sun. As enemies like jackals or birds of prey approach, the mini-watchman lets off a shrill whistling sound and the rest of the family sweeps into the burrows.

Many babies – many parents

All the adult animals in the group look after the upbringing of the lively little meerkats. The babies are suckled for around 80 days. Pre-masticated pulp gets fed to them after six weeks, contributing to the rapid growing and strengthening of the little ones.

Is it true, that …?
Ears closed and off we go! To ensure that no sand falls into the ears of small mammals while they are digging their huge burrows, they can simply close them. Their four toes act like a small shovel when burrowing so that the animals are able to move a lot faster and create new passages and sleeping places.