Meerkats are very social animals, living in large groups called mobs. These mobs usually consist of several family groups with a single alpha male and alpha female pair. A mob’s home territory can be as large as 4 square miles and there is always at least one sentry ready to sound the alarm if danger approaches. Meerkats are able to stand upright, thanks to their tail, and have horizontal pupils which give them excellent peripheral vision without needing to move their heads. These adaptations make looking out for danger much easier. Meerkats are also very physical with each other, often playing and helping to groom each other in order to reinforce the bonds between the mob members.


Suricata suricatta

Distribution: Arid short grasslands of south-western Africa

Diet in the Wild: Insects, spiders, scorpions, eggs, small vertebrates and small amounts of vegetation.

Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Dog chow, cat chow, insectivore diet, crickets, mealworms, eggs and varied fruits and vegetables.

IUCN Red List Status: Least concern, population stable

Interesting Facts:

Meerkats are highly social and live in large groups called mobs. The raising of meerkat pups is the responsibility of all individuals in the mob, and when foraging for food, some meerkats will act as watch guards, perching on an elevated position and sounding a warning call if they spy danger.

A meerkat mob will generally have several burrows that members will shift between, not just one burrow. Each burrow is its own maze of tunnels and rooms.

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