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Thanks to a certain advert, most people are now familiar with meerkats. But this is definitely one little mongoose that’s anything but ‘simples’! Meerkat burrows can range from just a few holes to a complicated labyrinth 30 metres across with 90 entrances!

Family groups keep each other within sound and sight distance whilst foraging. At least one member will always be standing on hind legs or perched in a bush or tree and scanning for predators. This lookout is called the ‘sentry’ and sentry duty can last for over an hour at a time. The meerkat standing guard will make peeping sounds when all is well. If danger is spotted, it barks loudly or whistles so everyone can make a dash for the nearest burrow.

Conservation status | Least concern

Fact Sheet

Scientific name

Suricata suricatta






Up to 15 years in captivity

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