Suricata suricatta


This small, energetic mammal avoids mountainous terrain, preferring to live in semi-arid areas with stony soil.

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Length 25-35 cm
Height 25-35 cm
Weight 620 - 960 g
Lifespan 12 years
Diet Insects
Habitat Savannah and semi-arid zone
Reproduction 2 to 4cubs
IUCN Red List Status
Not evaluated
Data deficient
Least concern
Near threatened
Critically endangered

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The Meerkat has a slender body, an elongated head, and a pointed snout (almost triangular) that is highly efficient in searching for prey. The coat is brown, with black stripes on the terminal part of the back. It has long claws on its front legs that allow it to dig. It has an area of dark fur around the eyes, which acts like sunglasses, preventing strong light from affecting vision.



Meerkats come out of their burrows as soon as it gets warmer to forage for food under small rocks or near roots. They usually live in family colonies of up to 30 individuals, and each element performs its own function. There is always a vigilant member of the group (sentinel) who stands on his hind legs, in charge of warning the others if a predator approaches. There is also a hunter, and the other members contribute to taking care of the young. They love high places, to observe everything around them.



This species is essentially insectivorous, feeding on various types of larvae. They also eat millipedes, spiders, scorpions, small vertebrates (reptiles, amphibians and birds), eggs and plant matter, mainly berries.



The breeding season normally takes place between September and March. The gestation period is 77 days, with 3 to 4 young normally born each year, which reach sexual maturity at one year of age.



The Meerkat is not an endangered species, and its population is stable. There are no considerable threat factors since it is present in several protected and well-managed areas. Population densities can fluctuate greatly throughout the area they occupy and are influenced by rainfall and predation.

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