Meerkats (suricatta suricatta) are one of the most charismatic of the small mammals.
They are around 24 cm long with a 20 cm tail and weigh only a few hundred grams. Active by day, meerkats take shelter in their warm burrows at night.
They are highly sociable animals, and like to take turns to act as "look-out" from a high branch or rock, warning the rest of the group of any approaching danger. Their main enemies are birds of prey. While on guard they often stand up on their hind legs.
St Andrews Aquarium has a growing family of meerkats:
Kate & Wills are our two dominant meerkats and they arrived in 2011 with Windsor whose name was selected by seven year old Rebekka Stewart of Pitcorthie Primary School in Dunfermline.
The Famous Five, were born last year into Kate & Wills' growing meerkat family. Named after Enid Blyton's Famous Five series, the meerkats are called Julian, Dicky, Anna, George and Timmy.
Piper was Kate & Wills' first baby. Sadly Piper passed away on 12th July and will be greatly missed by all of us.
The latest additions to the meerkat family are Frank, Goldie and Myrrh who were born at the tail end of 2011, and a litter of 5 meerkats which were born in March 2012, of which three have survived: Sheila's Wheels, Churchill and Admiral.
Meerkat Talks: Daily at 12.20pm and 3.20pm
Why not feed our meerkats on your visit - then you'll have the chance to get up close and very personal with these fantastic creatures.
Adopt a Meerkat
Just launched - this is the ULTIMATE gift for the meerkat lover. Not only will you be directly supporting our meerkats, but you will get access to exclusive meerkat experiences, information and events.
Our Meerkats on Film
4 Fast & Furry Meerkat Factoids
Factoid Number One
Did you know that Kate & Wills LOVE snacking on crickets and mealworms. Yum!
Factoid Number Two
Kate & Wills love to sunbathe! Nights in the desert can be very cold so, to help warm up, meerkats like to stretch out in the sun to get cosy.
Factoid Number Three
Meerkats are related to the Dwarf Mongoose!
Factoid Number Four
Every Meerkat in the group has their own role to play, from baby sitter to food gatherer, they work as a team and not as individuals.