Meerkats (Suricata suricatta) are relatives of mongooses, which live in large bands in the arid, semi-desert areas of southern Africa. They are efficient diggers and live in large underground burrows.

Meerkats live in highly organized societies. While feeding, at least one band member keeps a look-out for danger, communicating to the others with an array of sounds. For example, howling warns that a bird of prey is approaching, while double-barking informs the band that a terrestrial predator has been spotted.

A meerkat band has between 10 and 15 individuals, with two or three pairs of males and females which do all the breeding. The young kits stay close to their dens and are looked after by at least one adult while the rest of their band forages for food.


ARKive photos and videos of the meerkat

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