Slender-Tailed Meerkats

Thanks to a certain advert, most people are now familiar with meerkats. But this is definitely one little mongoose that’s anything but ‘simples’. Meerkat burrows can range from just a few holes to a complicated labyrinth 30 metres across with 90 entrances.

Family groups keep each other within sound and sight distance whilst foraging. At least one member will always be standing on hind legs or perched in a bush or tree and scanning for predators. This lookout is called the ‘sentry’ and sentry duty can last for over an hour at a time. The meerkat standing guard will make peeping sounds when all is well. If danger is spotted, it barks loudly or whistles so everyone can make a dash for the nearest burrow.

Scientific name
Suricata suricatta
Family
Herpestidae
Order
Carnivora
Lifespan
Up to 15 years in captivity.
Fast facts
They live in highly social groups of abut 30 animals.
In the wild, their coat colour varies according to the area in which they live.
A group of meerkats is called a "mob".
Conservation status
Least concern