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Suricata suricatta

Meerkats at Paignton Zoo
IUCN Conservation Status –
Least Concern
Extinct In The Wild
Class: Mammals
Order: Carnivora
Family: Herpestidae

There’s no mistaking our cheeky mob of meerkats! This group can be spotted in their home next to The Ranch.

A member of the mongoose family, the meerkat is endemic to dry open savannah and grasslands across southern Africa.

Despite their small size, meerkats are actually carnivores. They mainly eat insects, eggs and small mammals.

Interesting facts!

  • Meerkats are social animals and inhabit territories in groups known as mobs.
  • They have a great sense of smell, meaning they can easily locate prey and dig it out using their clawed feet.
  • The dark patches around the eyes of a meerkat play an important function: they protect their eyes from the glare of the sun, rather like a pair of sunglasses!


As they breed readily and have a significant range, there are no major threats currently facing the meerkat.

In the wild, meerkats are an important part of the ecosystem, providing food for larger animals that are their natural predators, but also consuming a range of invertebrates that can act as a form on control on prey populations.

Sponsor a meerkat

You can make a real difference to the care of our meerkats at the zoo and our wildlife conservation work by purchasing a sponsorship today.

Our sponsorship packs make a wonderful gift for animal lovers of any age. Prices start from as little as £35 per year (that’s less than £3 a month!) with three different packs to choose from.