Meerkat in exhibit

Meerkat

Scientific Name

Suricata suricatta

Class

Mammalia

Order

Carnivora

Range

Southern Africa

Habitat

Savanna and open plains ecosystems

Estimated Wild Population

n/a
Meerkat in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern

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Physical Description

Meerkats, small members of the mongoose family, have long and slender profiles that allow them to easily dig and move through intricate underground tunnel networks They have a tan coat and gray face, plus dark ears and eye patches. These carnivorous mammals hunt insects, eggs, and very small animals. Nonbreeding members of each group often help rear young, monitoring dependent offspring as the breeding female forages for food.

Interesting Fact 1

Meerkats are immune to the venom of certain scorpions and spiders found throughout their range.

Interesting Fact 2

When groups search for food, one member often serves as a “sentinel" by watching for predators.

Interesting Fact 3

Foraging is linked to soil temperature—meerkats are more likely to leave the burrow when the sun warms the ground.

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Species Survival Plan®

We cooperate with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through a Species Survival Plan®.

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Commitment to Care

Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.

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Wish List

The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy. 

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Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.

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