Meet our cheeky mob and see their home from the meerkats' point of view!

Get up close to our meerkats in their Discovery Desert home next to the Reptile and Amphibian House. Their home is an extensive network of naturalistic burrows that mimics how they would live in the wild.

Visitors can enjoy their own tunnel experience complete with a viewing dome that gives a true perspective of life in the meerkat mob!

You'll almost always see at least one meerkat stood on its hind legs. They're not just showing off, they're keeping a lookout for the entire gang!

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Animal Facts

Key facts about the slender-tailed meerkat

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I'm found in southern Africa

Slender-tailed meerkats live in the Namib and Kalahari deserts, Angola and South Africa.

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My favourite food is insects

Meerkats mostly eat insects, but they will also eat eggs, fruit, and small animals like snakes!

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I can close my eyes AND my ears

Meerkats live in burrows and can close their ears to stop sand and dirt from getting in.


body length

32 km/h

top speed


Different vocalisations

Slender Tailed Meerkat at Jersey Zoo

Not just a pretty face

These stripy sentinels are a favourite with natural history filmmakers and visitors, because of their endearing upright postures and fascinating social behaviour.

In the wild, meerkats live in dry desert and savannah across southern parts of Africa. Superbly adapted, meerkats have evolved dark fur around their eyes to reduce squinting from reflected sunlight. When burrowing, they can completely close their ears to keep out dirt and fine sand.

Two Slender Tailed Meerkats perch on a rock at Jersey Zoo

Masters of teamwork

Slender-tailed meerkats are truly brilliant at working as a team. A wild meerkat mob can have as many as 50 individuals in it, and they work together to maintain their network of burrows, protect themselves from predators and find a tasty meal!

You'll almost always see at least one meerkat stood on its hind legs – they're the lookout for the group and keep an eye out for any predators, like eagles and jackals, whilst another team are out looking for food or down below digging more burrows.

There are also meerkat babysitters that will watch over the pups and teach them how to burrow and hunt. Unlike other social species, meerkats swap jobs regularly, so they may be on digging duty one day and then babysitting the day after!

Help us care for our meerkats