Australia Zoo is proud to launch our new meerkat adventure area in association with Compare the Market.
Meerkats are a small carnivore which belong to the mongoose family. A group of meerkats are known as a mob, gang or clan. A meerkat mob often contains about 20 meerkats, but some super-families have 50 or more members. In captivity, meerkats have an average life span of 12-14 years, and up to 8-10 years in the wild. Meerkats are very vocal and they will use calls to carry specific messages to the mob.
Weighing on average between 0.5-2.5 kilograms. They have a long slender body between 25 to 35 centimetres in length and an added tail length of around 20 centimetres. The meerkats tail is used to balance when they are on sentry duty (standing upright) as well as for signalling. Their coat is a light silvery-brown colour with dark stripes on their back and eyes ringed with dark fur.
Meerkats can be found throughout southwest Africa including western and southern Namibia, southwestern Botswana, and north and west South Africa. Mainly in dry, open environments characterised by short grasses and shrubs.
Meerkats are primarily insectivores with their long foreclaws especially adapted to scratch and dig while their pointed snout enables them to reach into small crevices. This allows them to find insect larvae, moths, butterflies, termites, crickets, spiders and scorpions which is their preferred diet.
A female meerkat can have up to 4 pups but 3 is the more common litter size. When the young are born their eyes and ears are closed and they stay like this until around 2 weeks of age. From 2 to 3 weeks of age the pups are allowed to venture out from the burrow.
The meerkat’s daily activities will be streamed live using the 360fly 4K Pro camera. For more information about this technology, visit 360fly.com/solutions.
Quite literally the golden girl of the group, Katia has the most golden brown tinge through her fur, which is the easiest way to tell her apart. She has a sweet and obliging personality, and is the most likely to try and sucker her keepers in for an extra treat or two with her big round eyes and gentle paws on their shoes! When she’s not exploring her home or getting stuck into some energetic digging, she loves nothing more than basking in the sunshine.
Matilda has the same greyish colour as her mother, but is lighter in the face than her sisters. She is always willing to take on her share of the family duties, but tends to be a little more particular than the others when it comes to mealtime, assessing the food on offer and trying to pick out her favourites rather than just getting stuck in! She definitely likes to stick close to her mother, and will follow her lead when it comes to exploring their home or investigating new toys.
Maya takes after her mother in the looks department, being the darkest of the three sisters but with a very fine, pointed muzzle. She is the most independent natured of the group and will most commonly be seen doing her own thing, whether that’s taking on sentry duty or just investigating her surroundings at her own pace. She’s slightly reserved in nature, and likes to take her time when encountering new things.
As the stately matriarch of her family group, Molly has a very calm, steady demeanor and is a wonderful role model for her three daughters. Not much seems to phase her, and she often gives the impression that she hasn’t a concern in the world... until feeding time comes around that is! She won’t turn her nose up at anything, and will absolutely lead the charge when new and interesting food is given to the group. With her distinctive, very dark face mask and muzzle she is easy to distinguish from the others.