Category: Carnivores

Location: Foot Safari

About Meerkats

Meerkats are incredibly sociable animals. These small mammals are part of the mongoose family and have an insectivorous diet. At Knowsley Safari, we have a mob meerkats who live next to the Equatorial Express on the Foot Safari

In the wild, meerkats live in the desert in western parts of South Africa. They like semi-arid conditions and usually live in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana. 

Meerkats live in a family group, called a mob, of up to 50 meerkats so there are more eyes to look for danger. Each adult in the group has a role as a babysitter, teacher, hunter or lookout. The lookout, or sentry, take turns looking for predators. Upon spotting potential danger, the sentry will sound an alert and the mob will run for safety in their underground burrows.

Name: Meerkat

Location: Kalahari Desert in Botswana and other semi-arid areas of western South Africa

Population: No EEP but around 3,400 in zoos across the world

Status: Least Concern

Threats: Birds of prey and snakes

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Fun facts about Meerkats

Although meerkats are small and cute, they have very sharp teeth which helps them to hunt for food. Whether you are preparing for your visit to the safari or just want to know a bit more about the petit mammals you’ve seen on the adverts, we have some marvellous meerkat facts. Learn more about the meerkats when you visit them on the Foot Safari.

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    Meerkats belong to the Mongoose family
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    They are social animals and must live within a meerkat mob
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    Meerkats can live for up to 14 years
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    They are lead by an alpha female who is the only female in the mob to mate
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    Meerkats eat meat & insects such as snakes, spiders & scorpions
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    Meerkats stand at 35cm tall, weighing up to 975g

Meerkat facts - Your questions answered!

Meerkats are insectivores , which means their diet is mainly made up of  insects. As opportunistic eaters, they mostly eat invertebrates such as spiders and scorpions as well as small animals like snakes, lizards and even eggs.

 

In the wild, meerkats live in the desert and grasslands in Botswana and Namibia. They like dry, open areas like savannahs and scrublands and are typically found in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana and South Africa.

As cute and cuddly as they look, meerkats do not make for suitable pets. They are social animals with very specific requirements that are not achievable in a domestic setting. They also have a funky smell which you won’t want lingering around your home, so it’s probably best to avoid.

In the wild, meerkats usually live for an average of 7-10 years. In captivity, they can have a lifespan of up to 14 years. 

 

Meerkats grow to around 50cm long, including their tails, and stand to around 35cm tall from top to toe. They have bushy light brown fur with darker markings. The dark circles around their eyes helps avoid the glare of the sun, allowing them to see into the distance.

 

As social animals, meerkats live in big groups called a mob, gang or a clan. Often, groups of meerkat families will come together to form a large mob of up to 50 meerkats.

Meet our meerkats

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Where to see the meerkats at Knowsley Safari

Come face to face with our meerkats on the foot safari, right next to the Equatorial Express.

Want to get even closer to the meerkats?

Step behind the scenes for a meerkat encounter to learn more about the animals and have the chance to feed them.

Attractions and experiences

Meet us right next to the meerkats for talks at 1:00pm and 3:00pm. (Due to governemnt guidelines animal talks are not currently running)

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