Curious meerkat looking towards camera


Meerkats are comical, social mongooses widely distributed throughout southern Africa; they’re also one of the continent’s most popular and charismatic animals. They emerge from their family burrows early each morning, to engage in a spot of basking and grooming. This is followed by a day spent foraging for insects.

Each member of the group forages individually while at least one member will act as a sentry, standing on its hind legs at a good vantage point. The sentries remain at their posts for hours at a time, regularly alerting the group to potential dangers with little squeaks.

Did you know?
A group of meerkats is called a mob, gang or clan.

Scientific name: Suricata suricatta

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Slender-tailed mongoose,
  • Suricate

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Map showing the distribution of the Meerkat taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Meerkat can be found in a number of locations including: Africa. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Meerkat distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Unknown

Year assessed: 2008

Classified by: IUCN 3.1

BBC News about Meerkat

See all Meerkat news stories

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