Suricata suricatta

Body Length:10" to 14"
Body Length:7" to 10"
Height:Up to 20" when standing
Weight:1.4 to 2 lbs.
Geographic Distribution:Western parts of southern Africa, western and southern Namibia, southwestern Botswana, northern and western South Africa, and extreme southwestern Angola
Habitat:Dry areas (including the Namib and Kalahari Deserts), with sandy or hard and even stony ground; they avoid forests, mountains, and true deserts
Wild Diet: Principally insects, including beetles, beetle larvae and butterfly larvae, spiders, centipedes, and scorpions; also bird and reptile eggs, rats, mice, small birds, lizards, snails, and plants
Zoo Diet:Cat food, dry dog food, vegetables, bugs (crickets, mealworms, etc.), ribs, fish, and mice
Status in the Wild:Least Concern
Location:Desert's Edge

Meerkat fur is light grizzled gray to tan with dark brown bands across the sides and back. Their head and throat are grayish-white. Their eye rings, ears, and tail tip are black. Their underfur is reddish brown. They have a long, slender body, long fur, and short legs. Their head is quite short and wide but ends in a pointed muzzle. They have very small, rounded ears. The front and back feet have four toes and nonretractable claws. They have a well-developed anal gland. Females have two or three pairs of teats.
• Meerkats are immune to many venoms.
• They have to eat every day because they have very little fat in their body.
• They start dust fights to distract aggressors.
• Dominant females evict some females from natal groups in late pregnancy. The older pregnant females are the most likely to be evicted. Most evicted females return to the natal group after the dominant female gives birth. Others do not return and form new groups. Female dispersal is forced by the dominant female. Male dispersal is voluntary.