Meerkat Natural History
Range & habitat
Meerkats live throughout the whole of the Kalahari desert where it digs elaborate burrows.
The average lifespan of a meerkat is from 12 to 14 years.
The meerkat is mainly an insectivore feeding on a variety of insects, however when need be will also feed on small lizards, snakes, eggs and other small mammals. These animals spend a lot of their time foraging for their food.
An average group of meerkats (called a clan) will consist of around 20 individuals, however “super families” exist with up to 50 animals being recorded. During breeding season the male will groom the female he has chosen for breeding until she submits to his advances. The females gestation will last around 11 weeks after which she will give birth to 1 to 5 pups.
Groups of meerkats are usually called clans, but can also be called mobs or gangs.
The main threats to this species are predation, making up a large proportion of the diet of several predators from the area, as well as being prone to losing large numbers of its population in very dry years through its very dry habitat.
The Meerkat at Sandwich Wildlife Park
Our group of meerkats originally came from Cologne Zoo in Germany and have been with us since 2017. They are a mixed sex group and we have had some success with breeding them since their arrival.
They live in the indoor area of our park in an open top enclosure where they enjoy a warm temperature all year around.
We feed our meerkats a wide mixture of feed items including mealworms, chicks, pellet food and vegetables.