Suricata suricatta 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Herpestidae

Scientific Name: Suricata suricatta
Species Authority: (Schreber, 1776)
Common Name(s):
English Meerkat, Suricate, Slender-tailed Meerkat
French Suricate

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-02-28
Assessor(s): Jordan, N.R. & Do Linh San, E.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W. & Hoffmann, M.
Contributor(s): Macdonald, D.
It is listed as Least Concern because this species is relatively widespread within southern Africa, present in several protected areas, and there are no major threats.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Least Concern (LC)
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is widespread in the western parts of southern Africa, including western and southern Namibia, southwestern Botswana, and north and west South Africa, with a very marginal intrusion into extreme southwestern Angola (Macdonald 2013). Lynch (1994) suggested that this species may occur in the lowlands of Lesotho, but there have been no records so far (N. Avenant pers. comm. 2013).
Countries occurrence:
Angola (Angola); Botswana; Namibia; South Africa
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Densities can fluctuate greatly across the range, and are influenced by rainfall and predation. In the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa, densities declined from one individual/km2 in April 1994 to 0.32 individual/km2 in May 1995 following a reduction in rainfall (Clutton-Brock et al. 1999).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is an inhabitant of arid, open country, characterised by short grasses and sparse woody growth. It is absent from true desert and forested areas, and also from mountainous terrain (Macdonald 2013). It is carnivorous, feeding mostly on invertebrates.
Generation Length (years):6

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not used.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to the species. There is currently no evidence that infection with tuberculosis (probably Mycobacterium bovis), which may be common in this species (Drewe 2010), has led to any direct persecution in farming areas, or that a present small trade in Meerkats as pets has affected wild populations.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is present in several large and well-managed protected areas, including the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Classifications [top]

2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.8. Shrubland - Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation
suitability: Suitable  
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
8. Desert -> 8.1. Desert - Hot
suitability: Suitable  

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education

Bibliography [top]

Clutton Brock, T.H., Maccoll, A.D.C., Manser, M., Brotherton, P.N.M., Gaynor, D., Mcilrath, G.M., Kansky, R., Chadwick, P. and Skinner, J.D. 1999. Predation, group size and mortality in a cooperative mongoose, Suricata suricatta. Journal of Animal Ecology 68: 672-683.

Drewe, J.A. 2010. Who infects whom? Social networks and tuberculosis transmission in wild meerkats. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 277: 633-642.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Lynch, C.D. 1994. The mammals of Lesotho. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum Bloemfontein 10(4): 177-241.

Macdonald, D.W. 2013. Suricata suricatta Meerkat (Suricate). In: J. Kingdon and M. Hoffmann (eds), The Mammals of Africa. V. Carnivores, Pangolins, Equids and Rhinoceroses, pp. 347-352. Bloomsbury, London, UK.

Citation: Jordan, N.R. & Do Linh San, E. 2015. Suricata suricatta. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T41624A45209377. . Downloaded on 27 November 2015.
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