All Things Kenyan

Meerkat Facts

Name: Meerkat

MeerkatScientific Name: Suricata suricatta

African Names: Meerkat is Afrikaans/Dutch for “Marsh Cat” or “Lake Cat”. Suricate is Swahili for “Rock Cat”.

Length: 10 to 14 inches, tail length is 7 to 10 inches

Average Adult Weight: 1 1/2 pounds

Life Span: 12 to 14 years

Description: Meerkats have long slender bodes and short limbs. They have a tan to grey coat with brown bands on the back and sides. Their head and throat are greyish white with eyes ringed with black. Meerkats have black rounded ears and a black tip to the tail.

Habitat: The kalahari desert area of Botswana and South Africa, prefers savannah.

Countries found in: Bostswana, South Africa, Angola, and Namibia.

Babies: 2 to 5 pups with a gestations period of 11 weeks.

Food: Mainly insects, but also lizards, snakes, scorpions, spiders, plants, eggs, small mammals, millipedes, centipedes, roots and bulbs. Meerkats spend a lot of time foraging for food.

Group Name: Mob, Gang, or Clan. Most clans have around 20 members, but some can have as many as 50 members.

Habits: Meerkats spend a lot of time on guard watching for predators. When the guard meerkat senses danger it makes barking noises, otherwise will will make peeping noises when everything is ok.

Endangered: No

Interesting Facts: Meerkats are part of the mongoose family. Timon in “The Lion King” is a meerkat. In Zimbabwe and Zaire, the meerkat is known as the “Sun Angel” and protects villages from the “Moon Devil” or werewolf.