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Animals & Attractions

Meerkat

We have a small group of meerkats at Edinburgh Zoo. They arrived in February 2012 from Cologne Zoo, Germany.

In March 2015 our dominant female Queen, gave birth to a litter of three pups, all of which are doing well.

On the 8 May 2015 we were delighted to welcome a further five meerkat pups into our clan.

Location in the Zoo

Our meerkats can be found in Meerkat Plaza, at the front entrance of the Zoo.

 

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Status

Not Endangered NE
Data Deficient DD
Least Concern LC
Near Threatened NT
Vulnerable VU
Endangered EN
Critically Endangered CR
Extinct in the wild EW
Extinct EX

Least Concern

For more info on classifications visit www.iucnredist.org

Size

Relative to 6ft (2m) man Relative to 6ft (2m) man

Population

Population is unknown, IUCN June 2008

Habitat

  • Grasslands

    Grasslands

Diet

Insectivore Insectivore
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In The Wild

Meerkats (Suricata suricatta), live in groups of between 20 and 30 individuals. The groups are also called, mobs, clans, or gangs, and live in underground burrows. They are highly social animals and are very active during the day.

They are pale brown on the underside and on their face, with silvery-brown on the upper parts and eight darker bands on their back and dark eye rings with a dark tip to their slender tail.

Meerkats are generally insectivores, however they will also eat lizards, scorpions, snakes, spiders, millipedes and centipedes. While most of the pack members forage for food, some of them will act as sentries, keeping an eye out for danger. These sentries will bark when a threat is spotted to alert the group who will then run for cover. Once the sentry stops barking the group will resurface.

Only the alpha pair are allowed to reproduce, if any of the subordinate females produce pups, they can be ousted from the group or their pups killed. They can have litters anytime throughout the year, however the most common time is the warmer summer months. They give birth to up to five young in a single litter, after an eleven week gestation period. The pups are kept in the burrow until they are three weeks old, and then they will begin to learn how to forage at four weeks old. The whole clan will help to look after the pups with the other females even producing milk for them.

Meerkat pups 2015

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