Slender-Tailed Meerkat

Suricata Suricatta

Scientific Name

Slender-Tailed Meerkat:  
Suricata Suricatta

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

The meerkat can be found in Southern Africa, south of the Orange River, including Angola, Namibia, South Africa and southern Botswana.

Natural Habitat

Found exclusively on the semi-arid plains, where there is intense heat and very little rain, of South Africa, the meerkat avoids woodland and dense vegetation and prefers to live among the scrub.

Physical Characteristics

  • Meerkats are related to the mongoose.  They are approximately 12 inches in length from their head to the tip of their tail.  They may weigh up to two pounds.  Their large canine teeth and long, specialized claws on their front paws aid in digging and climbing.  They possess a pointed snout and small black eyes.  Their eyes are surrounded by patches of black fur which function as built-in sunglasses.

Quick Facts

  1. Meerkats have developed immunity to scorpion stings that would otherwise paralyze a grown man or kill a small child.

  2. The meerkat is a very social animal forming groups with other individuals sharing duties, food and child- rearing responsibilities.

  3. Due to their specialized physical characteristics, a meerkat can move its entire weight in sand in a matter of seconds!


Gorilla House

Conservation Status

Least Concern: The Slender-Tailed Meerkat is common or abundant and is likely to survive in the wild.

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Meerkats feed on a varied diet that consists mostly of insects, grub, scorpions and lizards. In human care they are Insectivore pellets, eggs, fruit and vegetables, and insects.