Meerkat (Suricata suricatta)

Conservation Status

Least Concern (LC)

Physical Description

Small mammal with pale body colour and several irregular transverse bands on back. Thinly haired tail with darker tip and dark circles around eyes.
Weight 0.62-0.97 kg
Size 45-55cm
Lifespan (wild) 5-15 years
Lifespan (captivity) 12 years


Meerkats are diurnal in habit and live in groups of 5-40 individuals. They excavate their own burrow systems, but will also make use of burrows from other small mammals. They are very watchful and cautious species, always staging a lookout during foraging to watch for danger. They often stand upright on their hind legs and use their tail balance.

Social and Reproduction

Highly sociable, living in colonies.

Mating System Promiscuity
Breeding interval Once a season
Breeding season Early summer or late spring
Gestation 60-70 days
Number of offspring 2-5 offspring born in summer.

Habitat and Food


Open, arid to lightly vegetated country.


Insects, scorpions, small birds and some small mammals; bird and reptile eggs.


Large raptors and birds of prey; dogs and jackals.

Conservation Challenges

None. Large colonies can become bold and harass domestic animals and people.

Naankuse Solutions

No work on meerkats exists at the present. However, orphaned and injured meerkats are taken in, rehabilitated, and released when possible.


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Meerkat at Naankuse sites