Southern Africa, south of the Orange River, including Angola, Namibia, South Africa, and Southern Botswana
Open dry areas and savannas, often rocky
Wild: Insects, mainly beetles and beetle larvae and butterfly larvae. Rarely spiders, mice, reptiles
Zoo: Canned and dry cat food, apples, mealworms
Gestation is about 11 weeks
Length: head and body is 24.5 - 31 cm; tail is 20 - 24 cm; weight is 620 - 960 grams. Yellow-grey round body, muscular with long claws on hands. Head is broad a the back with a pointed muzzle. Tail is thinly haired, tapered and shorter than the body. The eyes are surrounded by "masks" of black skin and fur in sharp contrast with white brows and cheeks.
Behavior: Strictly diurnal. Lives in groups of 5 - 40 individuals in burrows which they have dug or shared with ground squirrels. Burrow systems vary in size with 10 - 90 entry holes and 1 - 3 depth levels.
Reproduction: Breeding can occur year round. In the wild most births occur in the warmer months (October - April). Young are independent at about 10 weeks, and reach adult size by about 6 months.
Did You Know?
- The tail is held rigidly vertical when running.
- Raptors are the meerkat's most common predator.
- Meerkat vision is so good it can spot raptors at heights where they look like dots to the human eye.
- Overall they are not endangered.
Where in the Zoo?
I can be found in the African Elephant Crossing at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.