Meet the Meerkat

Article | Updated 4 months ago

Suricata suricatta

A meerkat searching for food

A meerkat searching for food
Image copyright WA Museum 

Meekats are the only members of their genus, and can be found in the Kalahari Desert, the Namib Desert, Angola and South Africa.

A meerkat searching for food

A meerkat searching for food
Image copyright WA Museum 

These little mammals are primarily insectivores, and spend their days foraging through sand for their favourite prey. They are immune to specific types of venom, which means they can catch and eat the venomous scorpions of their desert home.

A pair of meerkats

A pair of meerkats
Image copyright WA Museum 

Meerkats are prey for other desert animals, such as eagles and jackals, and so when a meerkat group are out foraging, there will always been an individual standing guard on “sentry” duty. If this sentry spots a potential predator, it will alert the rest of the group and they will all run for cover.

A meerkat on lookout duty

A meerkat on lookout duty
Image copyright WA Museum 

This cover will usually be a hole that joins a network spread across the group’s territory. Meerkats are burrowing animals that live in groups of up to 30 individuals beneath the ground, when they aren’t out foraging. 

Meerkats relaxing in the sun

Meerkats relaxing in the sun
Image copyright WA Museum