If you think there's a meerkat watching you explore our zoo, you're not imagining it. You'll be right, it'll be the lookout!

Just like in the wild in Africa, our meerkats take it in turns to keep an eye on what's going on in the world and alert the others about any signs of danger.

Not that there's anything for them to worry about here, but intelligent meerkats like to have everything covered.

Meerkats are highly sociable and live in groups of 20–30 in the wild. Our group is led by an adult pair, which has several sets of young pups.

They love to forage, burrow, groom each other, wrestle and play. But even in the playground there's always a guard on duty. Those keen eyes will still be focused on you as you watch them play.

They're fantastic diggers with sharp claws perfect for making tunnels. And they can even close their ears to keep dirt out while digging.

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Interesting facts

IUCN Status: Least concern

Where they live: Widespread in the western parts of southern Africa, including western and southern Namibia, south-western Botswana, and north and west South Africa.

Habitat: Arid, open country, characterised by short grasses and sparse woody growth. Meerkats are absent from true desert and forested areas, and also from mountainous terrain.

Size: 50cm in height

Weight: 750-820grams

Threats: There are no major threats to this species.

Scientific name: Suricata suricatta