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All about meerkats – Curiosities and facts

Meerkats (Suricata suricatta) are small, carnivorous animals that are native to parts of Africa. These cute little creatures have long been a popular pet choice for those looking for an exotic animal companion. But before you run out and get yourself a meerkat, there are a few things you should know about them. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything from what meerkats eat to where they live and how they live together in colonies. By the end, you’ll know whether or not a meerkat is the right pet for you!

What do meerkats eat?

Meerkats are carnivores, which means that their diet consists mainly of meat. In the wild, they will eat insects, small reptiles, and rodents. If you’re thinking of getting a meerkat as a pet, you should be prepared to feed them a diet that consists mostly of meat as well. However, you can supplement their diet with fruits and vegetables if you’d like. Just make sure that the majority of their diet is still meat-based.

Where do meerkats live?

Meerkats originally come from Africa, specifically the southern part of the continent. In the wild, they will typically live in burrows underground. If you’re keeping a meerkat as a pet, it’s important to provide them with a space that simulates their natural habitat as much as possible. This means having an enclosure that is both large enough for them to move around in and has plenty of places for them to hide away and feel safe. 

meerkat for pet
A meerkat baby peeks its head out of a burrow. Credit: San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
How do meerkats live together in colonies?

Meerkats typically live in colonies consisting of up to 30 individuals. These colonies are made up of closely related families, with each family group occupying its own burrow system within the colony. Within each family group, there is a strict hierarchy consisting of an alpha male and female at the top followed by their offspring of various ages. The rest of the colony will typically consist of unrelated meerkats who act as helpers to the alpha pair. 

Is it possible to have a meerkat for pet?

Now that we’ve covered some of the basics about meerkats, let’s talk about whether or not they make good pets. First and foremost, it’s important to remember that meerkats are wild animals and not domestic pets like dogs or cats. As such, they have very specific care requirements that must be met in order for them to thrive. If you’re not prepared to commit to taking care of a meerkat properly, then it’s probably best not to get one. 

That being said, meerkats can make good pets for those who are willing to put in the time and effort required to take care of them properly. They are relatively low maintenance as far as exotic pets go and can bond closely with their human companions. If you think you can provide a meerkat with everything they need—a proper diet, ample space to roam around in, and plenty of love and attention—then they may just be the perfect pet for you! 

meerkat for pet
A meerkat suns itself. One of the San Diego Zoo’s meerkats was the animator’s model for the portrayal of Timon in Disney’s animated movie, “The Lion King.” Credit: San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
Curiosities and facts about meerkats

1. Meerkats are members of the mongoose family.

2. Meerkats live in Africa and can be found in countries such as Botswana, Namibia, Angola, and South Africa.

3. A group of meerkats is called a “mob”, “gang”, or “clan”.

4. Meerkats are very social animals and live in groups of up to 30 individuals.

5. Meerkats are known for their upright stance and long tails.

6. Meerkats have dark brown fur with light-colored patches around their eyes.

7. Meerkats typically weigh between 1 and 2 pounds.

8. Meerkats have a life span of 12 to 14 years in the wild and up to 20 years in captivity.

9. The biggest threat to meerkats is predators such as eagles, hawks, snakes, and jackals.

10. Meerkats are curious animals and are known to investigate anything new that enters their territory

11. Meerkats have a matriarchal society where mom’s are in charge.

meerkat for pet
When pups finally emerge from the den, they stay close to mom—and other adults—as they learn the ropes topside. Credit: San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

Meerkats are small carnivorous animals native to Africa that have long been popular exotic pets choices for those looking for something a little different than your average dog or cat. But before you go out and get one, there are a few things you should know about them first—namely what they eat, where they come from, how they live together in colonies, and whether or not they make good pets. Thankfully, this blog post covers all of that! So if you’re thinking about getting a meerkat as your next pet companion, be sure to give this post a read first so that you know what you’re getting yourself into!