Meerkat Natural History
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.
The average lifespan of a meerkat is from 12 to 14 years.
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.
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.
Groups of meerkats are usually called clans, but can also be called mobs or gangs.
The Meerkats During Your Day Out in Kent
The clan of meerkats here at Wingham Wildlife Park are in an open enclosure between the red panda and smooth coated otters near to the reptile house. You can buy feed at the park to give to the meerkats yourself.