Meerkat suricatta

Common name



Open and semi-arid areas, often rocky and grasslands. They live in their own or other small mammals' very extensive burrows with multiple entrances and chambers where the temperature remains more stable and comfortable than outside.








70-80 days

Number of offspring




Insectivorous, especially beetles, arachnids and centipede larvae, they also occasionally feed on small vertebrates (including lizards and small snakes), eggs and fruit.


About 10 years.

Biology and behavior

Meerkats are social mongooses that live in family groups. Several family groups can join together and form a group. They are very territorial, defending their territory from other groups of meerkats. These groups are made up of breeding pairs (one per family) and their offspring.

Males mark territory with their anal scent glands. With the help of their non-retractable claws, they dig the ground in search of food. While the group forages for food, several meerkats, called sentinels, keep an eye out for any predators approaching. Predators are detected by their scent, and at that moment the sentinels emit a warning sound to the other meerkats to hide in their burrows. When some time passes after the warning, the sentinels will be the first to go out to see if the predator has left, in which case they notify the others so that they continue searching for food.

Grooming between meerkats reinforces social bonds. Adult male individuals often migrate to other groups. The non-reproductive individuals of the group are dedicated to caring for the offspring. Due to this fact and that they take care of adult and sick individuals, they are said to be extremely altruistic animals.

Meerkats create burrows with authentic underground networks with multiple entrances that they only abandon during the day, when they look for food.

The natural predators of these animals are usually eagles, falcons or jackals.


The striped pattern on their back is unique to each meerkat, just like our fingerprints.

If they are cold, they can regulate their body temperature by covering an area of ​​their belly, which does not have many hairs, on rocks or by lounging in the sun.

Newborns cannot urinate without encouragement from their mothers.

Although they are diurnal animals, they are only active in the presence of sun; if it is raining they remain inside their burrows.

African savanna
Equatorial jungle
Madagascar Island