Slender-Tailed Meerkat

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.

Sociable everyday life

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.


  • Origin

    Southern Africa

  • Habitat

    open dry areas and savannahs

  • Diet

    The meerkat’s diet consists of insects, eggs, snakes, scorpions and birds.

  • Status

    No exact inventory data available

  • Size

    24,5 to 29 cm

  • Weight

    620 to 970 g

  • Gestation period

    approx. 2.5 months

  • Achievable age

    up to 10 years in the wild, up to 12 years in human care

Threat Categories of IUCN

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.

Cool shades

The dark patches round meerkats’ eyes don’t just look trendy, they also prevent the sun from dazzling them – just like sunglasses!


Did you know that ...

...meerkats can close their ears to prevent sand getting in while digging,
...meerkat burrows have up to 200 entrances,
...and only the alpha pair produce young, but the task of rearing is shared by the group?

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Opening hours

Today, 17. January
9:00 - 16:30
Last admission: 15:30
Opening hours

Feedings & Trainings

  • No public Animal feeding & training sessions are taking place at this time.


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Hardenbergplatz 8, 10787 Berlin

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