Meerkat (Slender- tailed)

A meerkat at ZSL London Zoo

What they look like 

Meerkats are members of the mongoose family. They have a long thin tail that allows them to balance when standing upright and have black patches that surround their eyes. When meerkats dig they can close their ears in order to stop dirt entering their ear cavities.

Animal facts 

They forage in groups, taking turns to stand on their hind legs to watch for predators. At times of danger, the lookout gives a shrill alarm call and the group scurries for shelter.  Despite their cute appearance, meerkat mobs are territorial and have a strict hierarchal infrastructure in which social positions can impact on an individual’s lifespan.

What they eat

Insects, small mammals, grubs, snakes, eggs


Desert and dry open plains in networks of underground burrows and crevices

Where they live

Southern Africa


Hunted by eagles, servals and jackals. Sometimes culled because they can carry rabies.