Meerkat

Meerkats at Wingham Wildlife Park

Size

These animals range in length from 42cm to 60cm and can weigh up to 720g.

Habitat and Distribution

This animal lives throughout the whole of the Kalahari desert where it digs elaborate burrows.

Age

The average lifespan of these animals is from 12 to 14 years.

Diet

This animal is mainly an insectivore feeding on a variety of insects, however when need be will also feed on small lizards, snakes, eggs and other small mammals. These animals spend a lot of their time foraging for their food.

Groups and Breeding

An average group of meerkats (called a clan) will consist of around 20 individuals, however “super families” exist with up to 50 animals being recorded. During breeding season the male will groom the female he has chosen for breeding until she submits to his advances. The females gestation will last around 11 weeks after which she will give birth to 1 to 5 pups.

Threats

The main threats to this species are predation, making up a large proportion of the diet of several predators from the area, as well as being prone to losing large numbers of its population in very dry years through its very dry habitat.

Interesting facts

Groups of meerkats are usually called clans, but can also be called mobs or gangs.