Belfast Zoo
Show Menu
Show Search

Meerkat

Suricata suriatta

Meerkat

Meerkats are a type of mongoose. They are burrowing animals with sharp claws on their feet for digging.

Meerkats are sociable animals that live in groups called ‘mobs’, of up to 30 related individuals. Within the mob, there is always a sentry on duty. This member of the mob perches at a high vantage point to watch the sky and surrounding area for predators. If they spot anything, a sharp bark is used to alert the other members to the coming danger.

Habitat
Grasslands and savannah

Diet - Insectivore/Omnivore
Meerkats eat insects and other invertebrates but will also take eggs, small reptiles, roots, bulbs and birds.

Size
Meerkats can measure up to 35 centimetres (cm) and their tails can reach 25cm. They weigh up to 730 grams.

Location
Meerkats are found in the savannahs and open plains of southern Africa.

Conservation status 
The IUCN does not consider meerkats to be facing extinction in the wild.

Threats
Meerkats are not threatened in the wild.

Current population
There has been no research carried out into how many meerkats are left in the wild.

Zoo population
There is no EEP for meerkats. There are thought to be around 3,400 living in zoos around the world.

Key to acronyms

IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature

EEP - European Endangered Species Programme

Related links