GiraffeCam

Meet the Memorable, Mischievous Meerkat.

Physical Characteristics

  • Approximate weight is 1.5 pounds (males are slightly larger)
  • Adults are 10-14 inches tall
  • Tails, which are 7 to 10 inches long and taper to a reddish or black tip, are used for balance when meerkats stand on their haunches
  • Each limb has four toes, one being a long retractable claw
  • Coats are usually fawn-colored and peppered with gray, tan, or brown with a silver tint
  • Unique to each individual meerkat are short, parallel stripes across the back, extending from the base of the tail to the shoulders

Adaptations

  • Small, black, crescent-shaped ears close when the animal digs to prevent sand from entering
  • Meerkats have binocular vision and a large peripheral range
  • The underside of the meerkat has no markings, but the belly has a patch with only a sparse covering of hair showing the black skin underneath. This area absorbs heat when the meerkat stands on its rear legs facing hte sun, usually early in the morning after cold desert nights

Ecological Niche

  • A small mammal, the meerkat (or suricata) is a small mammal and a member of the mongoose family
  • Inhabits all parts of the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa

Reproduction

  • Females can be prolific and wonderful mothers. Molly, the Zoo's former breeding female gave birth to more than 30 babies in eight litters!
  • A group of meerkats is called a "mob" or "gang"

Other Information

  • Meerkats emit at least 10 different calls
  • A favorite food is the scorpion; meerkats are immune to the poisonous venom
  • Meerkats are fully grown by six months of age
  • Every adult meerkat has an important role in the mob. Some take on sentry duty, watching for predators and sounding the alarm when danger is present; others baby-sit, gather food or tend to housekeeping chores

Zoo Diet

Meerkats eat almost anything. They love bugs, watermelon, cat food treats, bones, frozen fruit, and yolk from hard-boiled eggs (a rare treat since eggs are bad for their health)


Meerkat Classification
Vernacular Name: Meerkat
Scientific Name: Suricata Suricatta
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Herpestidae
Genus: Suricata
Species: Suricatta
Geographic Range: Southwest Angola, Namibia, Botswana, South African savannah
Status: Not threatened

 

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Meerkats

The Zoo currently has 7 meerkats in several different mobs.

NAME SEX BIRTH DATE
Kalaha female March 10, 2004
Mojita female December 29, 2009
Scotty male February 3, 2005
Bomani male April 21, 2005
Akantse male July 9, 2005
Kamikazi male December 29, 2009
Sekitimi male July 9, 2005