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Meerkats in Africa


The meerkat or suricate …. is a mongoose

Meerkats live in the Kalahari and Namib Deserts, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. It is the only member of the genus Suricata – (Suricata suricatta) belongs to the mongoose family (Herpestidae).

Meerkat Makgadikgadi

The meerkat at a glance…. a few facts

  • A ‘mob’, ‘clan’ or ‘gang’ is the collective term for a group of meerkats – A group generally consists of 20 meerkats although some meerkat families can have up to 50 members!
  • in the wild meerkats live an average of 6 to 7 years
  • average weight of 0.5 to 2.5 kg (1.1 to 5.5 lbs)
  • body is long and slender reaching 35 to 50 cms (14-20 ins) extending a further 25 cms (9.8 ins) if you include the tail!
  • coat is tan, gray, brown with touches of silver with parallel stripes to the back which run from the shoulders to the tail base – these stripe patterns are unique to the individual
  • the tummy has fine sparse hair, this area is used in the absorption of heat when the meerkat is standing – particularly after a chilly desert night!
  • Meerkat uses its tail for balance when standing up and for signalling
  • they have binocular vision – both eyes are used together
  • distinctive black patches around the eyes
  • the black crescent ears are small claws are finger-like and used for digging for prey and burrowing, the rear claws are also used for tree climbin
  • Meerkats have slender limbs
  • Meerkats primarily eat insects but also enjoy a diet of snakes, scorpions, lizards, eggs, plants, millipedes, centipedes and some small mammals
  • they tend to forage and search for food with one of their group on the look out for predators – they’ll take it in turns with a meerkat’s watch lasting for around an hour.

Kalahari_Meerkats-1920[1]_Meerkats in Africa

If you’d like to meet the meerkat on safari, check out the best spots here…
Discover their antics in our Facebook gallery…

We all love these endearing creatures. Found in the Namib and Kalahari Deserts and further afield into Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Discover more about the Meerkat in our blog…

Posted by Zambezi on Tuesday, 14 April 2015

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