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African MeerkatScientific Name:
Suricata suricatta

Least Concern

South Africa

Kalahari Desert

Meerkats eat a wide variety of invertebrates including crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, scorpions and millipedes similar to those found in El Paso's Chihuahuan Desert. They also eat larger animals like lizards and small rodents.

African MeerkatGeneral Description
Meerkats are tan, brown and gray in color with a silver tint. Short stripes on the back are unique to each meerkat like a human finger print.

Like people, meerkats are very social animals and live in groups called clans. Look for some of the following common behaviors: (a) a meerkat on guard duty watching out for the others, (b) a meerkat on guard duty making a peeping sound, (c) a meerkat making a growling sound while searching for food, (d) a meerkat marking its territory with scent using a gland near its rear with which it will rub on anything and everything, (e) meerkats rubbing against each other to help express affection and share scents.

African MeerkatAt the Zoo
The meerkats came to El Paso from the Gladys Porter and Santa Barbara zoos. They are living in the new El Paso Electric Kalahari Research Station. The research station is operated like a real location in Africa where researchers and wildlife managers work on conservation projects to protect the Kalahari ecosystem. Visitors can see the meerkats from indoor viewing areas where are encouraged to connect with these animals by reading research notes posted on the walls.


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El Paso's Zoo Mission
Our mission is to celebrate the value of animals and natural resources and to create opportunities for people to rediscover their connection to nature.