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|Latin Name:||Suricata suricatta||Diet:||Insectivore|
|Native To:||Africa||Social Unit:||Group|
|IUCN Red List Status:||Least concern|
Meerkats at Edinburgh Zoo
We have eleven meerkats at Edinburgh Zoo, eight females and three males. They arrived in February 2012 from Cologne Zoo, Germany
Where can they be found
Our clan of meerkats can be found in the round enclosure between the short-clawed otters and pygmy hippos. There is also an indoor viewing area within the hippo house.
Meerkats in the Wild
In the wild, meerkats, 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 will the group re-emerge.
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.
IUCN Red List: Least ConcernAdopt a Meerkat A great way to support RZSS – buy it for yourself or as a gift for the animal lover in your life!
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