Area of zoo
Enclosure status
Population in the wild
IUCN status
Least Concern
Scientific name
Suricata suricatta
Southern Africa
Desert and dry open plains

What do slender-tailed meerkats look like?  

Slender-tailed 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. 

Slender-tailed meerkats facts  

They forage in groups, taking turns to stand on their hind legs at several lookouts to watch for predators, like birds of prey. 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. Meerkats live in large groups, sometimes comprising of several families living in one large community. These groups are referred to as either a mob, a gang or a clan.

Meerkats live underground, in large burrows which offer them shade from the hot African climate. In these burrows, the meerkat gang is able to raise their young, with males and siblings all getting involved to teach young meerkats how to play, hunt and hide. Female meerkats can even nurse their young while standing, and typically have two to four pups a year. 

A meerkat standing at London Zoo
Three meerkats at London Zoo

What do slender-tailed meerkats eat? 

Insects, small mammals, grubs, snakes, eggs. 

Slender-tailed meerkats habitat 

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

Where do slender-tailed meerkats live? 

Southern Africa. 

What are some of the threats facing slender-tailed meerkats? 

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

See meerkats at London Zoo

A mob of meerkats during a Meet the Meerkats Experience at London Zoo
Meet our inquisitive meerkat family

Meet the Meerkats at London Zoo

Go inside the meerkats' home and watch as they scamper around you as they search for their food.

  • A meerkat at London Zoo
    Meerkats at the Zoo

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    Finding the meerkats at London Zoo.

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