Meerkats are distributed across southern Africa, particularly in:

  • South Africa
  • Botswana
  • Namibia
  • southern parts of Angola


They inhabit arid regions, in particular the Kalahari Desert, and are well adapted to an environment with little rainfall or water. All of the water they need is obtained from their diet.


They are mainly insectivorous, but have a varied diet which frequently consists of prey such as:

  • beetles and their larvae
  • millipedes, caterpillars and grubs
  • grasshoppers and crickets
  • ants
  • geckos and small lizards
  • skinks and burrowing skinks
  • spiders, scorpions and solifuges
  • other insects where available

They also eat small snakes, burrowing frogs and mice where they can catch them.

Population biology

In the breeding season, young males frequently break away from their group and create ‘roving parties’ where they will enter other territories for chances of mating with females in other groups. These coalitions can last from a few hours to a few days and can sometimes lead to the formation of new meerkat mobs if females from other groups join them.

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