Suricate - Suricata suricatta

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African Civet - Civettictis civetta | Large spotted Genet - Genetta tigrina | Small spotted Genet - Genetta genetta | Selous' Mongoose - Paracynictis selousi | Yellow Mongoose - Cynictis penicillata | Small Grey Mongoose - Galerella pulverulenta | White-tailed Mongoose - Ichneumia albicauda | Water Mongoose - Atilax paludinosus | Large Grey Mongoose - Herpestes ichneumon | Slender Mongoose - Galerella sanguinea | Banded Mongoose - Mungos mungo | Dwarf Mongoose - Helogale parvula | Suricate - Suricata suricatta


Afrikaans Stompstertmeerkat
Tswana Ktk/Sie

4 cm

Distribution Dung
5 cm
Deposited in middens near warrens

Unusual features/differences from similar animals

Broad dark bands across the back. The banded mongooses which have narrow stripes. The tail is long, thin and short-haired and has a distinct black tip whereas the tail of the banded mongoose is bushy.

Visible Male/Female Differences

Breeding females have prominent nipples, males have prominent scrotums.

Habitat and Habits

Dry south-western parts of the region. Occurs in scrub, open woodland, and grassland.  Does not occur in true desert, forest, or on mountains.


A very wide range of insects (especial larvae), reptiles, amphibians and small birds.


Litters of 4-5 are produced after a gestation of 70 days in October-June, with a birth peak in January-April.  Only dominant females produce 1-3 litters per year in small bands, in larger bands two or three females breed. Pups emerge from the den at 2-3 weeks and forage independently at 3 months. They are sexually mature at 1 year.

Behavior and Habits

Active only during the day and emerge from dens around sunrise, retiring before sunset. They lazily spend 20-30 minutes sunbathing after having emerged from the den. They live in bands of 6-15 and are territorial. Males will fight savagely to take over groups and will drive out the resident dominant males if victorious. Subordinate males may also be integrated into the group as subordinates but will be required to do extra babysitting duties. Subordinates display a subservient posture towards dominant males when greeting them. Dominant males do the most scent marking. Older animals hold a higher rank rank.

Group disagreements which lead to fights may lead to serious injury and even death. Bands forage as a group but each finds and catches its own food. Prey is detected by smell and dug up with the forepaws. Sentinels perch on high vantage points and keep lookout.


Sentinels give a continuous peeping all-clear call. A rasping bark is the alarm call for raptors, a hoot alerts the band to ground predators. A "chrr" sound emitted in social interactions. When foraging they make a "brrrp" call to maintain contact.

Dung and Field Sign

 Droppings are up to 5 cm long, 1-1,5 cm thick, containing insect fragments, and are deposited in middens near warrens. Foraging holes which are up to 30 cm deep.


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