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Did you know?

A Meerkat on watch duty is called a sentry and will remain at their post for over an hour at a time

Quick Facts

Weight: 0.6-1.5kgs

Size: length – 25-35cm

Number of offspring: 1-6 pups

Gestation: 75-80 days

Maturity: 1-2yrs

Lifespan: 10-12yrs

Predators: Raptors, jackals

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Slender Tailed Meerkat

Suricata suricatta

Habitat

Arid, open country, characterised by short grasses and sparse woody growth. Absent from mountainous terrain, true desert and forested areas

Natural behavior

Diurnal living in home ranges. Group members will forage individually but visual and vocal contact is maintained at all times. One or more members will keep watch for predators and is known as a sentry. Meerkats take cover and sleep in burrows, which are sometimes excavated on their own but frequently use burrows of other animals

Description

Long slender body and tail, long front claws, coat is grey-tan-brown with parallel stripes and black patches around eyes

Distribution

Widespread in the Western parts Southern Africa

Diet

Omnivore; primarily insectivores but also reptiles, small mammals, birds, eggs, plants, fungi, root and bulbs

Reproduction

Year round breeding occurs with up to 2 liters per year. Usually only the alpha pair breed successfully. Meerkats are co-operative breeders and non-breeding adults will assist in the care of pups while they remain in the burrow for up to 3 weeks. Once mature, males will voluntarily disperse from the group to form news groups with unrelated females

Social structure

Highly social; living in large family groups of up to 30. Each member of the group plays an important role in foraging, keeping watch and caring for offspring

Threats

There are no major environmental threats to this species