The meerkat is a small diurnal herpestid (mongoose) weighing on average about 731 grams for males and 720 grams for females. Its long slender body and limbs give it a body length of 25 to 35 centimetres and an added tail length of 17 to 25 centimetres. Its tail is not bushy like all other mongoose species, but is rather long and thin and tapers to a black or reddish colour pointed tip.
"Charlie" finally being released into our "Meerkat Meander" after a few weeks of being introduced to the mob. "Charlie" was a meerkat that was rescued near Addo on the 18 May 2013. To view all our current patients , please visit www.tenikwa.org
Meerkats are cute and meerkat babies are simply irresistible. They are very social, smart and in many cases would not leave your lap if you let them. But they are also fierce carnivorous animals and their social structure is very, very strict. Rules are drawn very clearly and crossing them leads to immediate punishment.
Meerkats reach adulthood at around one year of age. Males voluntarily disperse with other males from their own group at around 18-30 months of age, either immigrating into an existing group by replacing the current dominant and other adult males, or forming a new group with unrelated females. Females never permanently immigrate into existing groups, but are evicted from their own group by the dominant female in the latter stages of the dominants’ pregnancy
Meerkats live in a matriarchal society, which means that a female is the leader. She is usually the mother of all the baby pups produced in her group. Although there are, of course, other females, the female leader does not allow them to have pups. In most cases, they will be evicted from the group, which can mean death in the wild
Please do not attempt to raise wild animals yourself. Wild animals such as Meerkats, do not make good pets. Besides this, you are taking them out of the wild, and if you don’t raise them correctly, they may never have the opportunity of being able to be returned to the wild.
Meerkats are small burrowing animals, living in large underground networks with multiple entrances which they leave only during the day. They are very social, living in colonies averaging 20–30 members. Animals in the same group regularly groom each other to strengthen social bonds. The alpha pair often scent-mark subordinates of the group to express their authority and this are usually followed by the subordinates grooming the alphas and licking their faces.
Suricates spend a lot of their time on guard looking out for predators. (Meerkat is a South African Dutch word meaning 'lake cat' since Meerkats are often found near stretches of water). Suricates have a tan to grey coat with brown bands on the back and sides, the head and the throat are greyish white.
The threats to a meerkat come from sky, land and weather. In the sky, birds of prey prefer to snatch the young. When the winged predator is seen the alarm goes out and all sprint for nearby bolt holes. If they are not near any bolt holes they will lie on the ground and depend on camouflage they also may take cover in thorny bushes where the birds dare not venture.