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Meerkat

Suricata suricatta

Meerkat Gallery

About the Meerkat

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Geographic Range:

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Class: Mammalia  
Order: Carnivora 
Family: Herpestidae 
Genus: Suricata 
Species: suricatta

Meerkats are social, burrowing animals. Though they live in underground colonies, they make sure to catch some rays. In fact, they're called the “solar panels of the animal world,” as they lie belly-up in the sun to warm up on cooler days. 

 

Meerkat Facts

Appearance:
Meerkats are small mammals whose body color ranges from brown to gray to tan. They have dark markings around their eyes and short parallel dark stripes from their spine across their back. They have long thin tails and a tapered nose.

Size:
Length: 1.5 to 2 feet
Weight: 1.5 to 2 pounds

Diet:
Meerkats eat a wide variety of small animals and plants. Their diet includes small insects, arachnids, centipedes and millipedes, small vertebrates, eggs, tubers and roots.

Reproduction:
Meerkats don't have a set breeding season and can have up to three litters in one year. Usually the dominant pair are the only ones to breed. Females carry the young for 70 to 80 days and have an average of three pups. Pups reach sexual maturity within a year.

Behavior:
Meerkats are very social animals, living in large colonies in underground burrows. They're diurnal and spend their time foraging, sunbathing and taking care of pups. Each meerkat will perform sentry duties and watch for predators, barking to signal that danger is near.

Habitat/Range:
They live in grasslands and savannahs throughout southern Africa and the Kalahari Desert.

Median Life Expectancy:
9 years