10 Examples of Animals Like Meerkats (How They’re Similar)

Last updated on December 22nd, 2023 at 11:19 pm

Animals like meerkats, small and sprightly, find their home in the vast expanse of the Kalahari Desert in Africa. Belonging to the mongoose family, these captivating creatures are distinguished by their upright posture and the endearing habit of standing on their hind legs to survey their surroundings.

Meerkats thrive in colonies of up to 40 members, organized into smaller groups called “mobs.” Each mob, led by a dominant female or “alpha female,” ensures the defense of the territory and provides sustenance for the group.

Characterized by large eyes, a small pointed face, and bushy brown-striped fur, meerkats weigh between 1.4 to 2.1 pounds and have long, sharp claws for burrow digging. Living in groups of 20 to 50, these sociable animals are active during the day, remaining vigilant and retreating to their burrows when threatened.

Here are just a few of the animals like meerkats and some striking similarities they share.

10 Animals Like Meerkats

1. Yellow Mongoose

Animals Like Meerkats
  • Scientific name: Cynictis penicillata
  • Size: 11 in
  • Weight: 1.3 lb
  • Diet: Carnivore

How are they like Meerkats: Yellow mongooses, close kin to meerkats, share physical similarities and often cohabit, showcasing a unique bond in nature.

Also known as the red meerkat, the yellow mongoose is a small mammal found in southern Africa. Living in social groups like meerkats, these mongoose groups consist of a few adults and their offspring.

Yellow mongooses are skilled diggers, creating extensive burrows with over 40 entrances and exits. With around 30 mongoose species closely related to meerkats, their shared family, Herpestidae, explains their similar appearance.

Mongooses excel in hunting snakes and possess a remarkable tolerance to snake venom.

2. Prairie Dog

Animals Like Meerkats

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  • Scientific name: Cynomys
  • Size: 12-15 in
  • Weight: 2-4 lb
  • Diet: Herbivore

How are they like Meerkats: A Sciuridae family member, this creature mirrors meerkats’ social behavior, highlighting intriguing parallels in the animal kingdom.

The prairie dog, a resilient North American grassland rodent, mirrors meerkats in its social structure and daytime activity within colonies.

With a compact size of about 16 inches, weighing 1 to 3 pounds, short tails, rounded ears, and robust, long claws, they exhibit distinctive features.

Their tan fur, short and coarse, complements their unique warning noises for various predators.

Intriguingly, the prairie dog’s entire mating season is condensed into a brief hour each year, emphasizing the fascinating dynamics of this small yet resilient species.

3. Banded Mongoose

Animals Like Meerkats

Image Source Pixabay

  • Scientific name: Mungos mungo
  • Size: 14 in
  • Weight: 2.8 lb
  • Diet: Carnivore

How are they like Meerkats: Furthermore, meerkats and their cousins, banded mongooses, exhibit striking similarities in both appearance and behavior.

The banded mongoose, a small carnivore native to Africa, shares social traits with meerkats, living in groups of up to 40 individuals. With long bodies, short legs, and pointed snouts, they reach around 18 inches in length and weigh 3-5.5 pounds.

These nomadic creatures frequently change locations every 3-4 days, showcasing their dynamic lifestyle.

In a remarkable display of communal care, if a mother dies, another female in the group takes over the care of her offspring, ensuring the young mongoose’s survival. Notably, banded mongooses possess the ability to kill snakes up to three times their size.

4. Weasel

Animals Like Meerkats

Image Source Pixabay

  • Scientific name: Mustela
  • Size: 4-10 in
  • Weight: 1 oz
  • Diet: Carnivore

How are they like Meerkats: However, the most striking similarity between these two animals is their habit of standing on their hind legs to survey their surroundings and look for danger.

Weasels, small carnivorous mammals, inhabit diverse global habitats, including North American forests, fields, and urban areas.

Constantly on the move in pursuit of food, they primarily target small rodents like mice and voles. Measuring between 15 and 24 inches, their fur varies in shades of brown, black, or gray with markings from yellow to white, sometimes turning white in winter.

Remarkably, when threatened, weasels deploy a stink bomb – a pungent, oily fluid. Despite their size, weasels can successfully hunt larger prey like squirrels and rabbits.

5. Marmot

Animals Like Meerkats

Image Source Pixabay

  • Scientific name: Marmota
  • Size: 17-28 in
  • Weight: 6-15 lb
  • Diet: Herbivore

How are they like Meerkats: A furry rodent with a distinctive warning noise, meerkats release a distinctive bark, while marmots, when spotted, emit a loud whistle. Additionally, both animals share the habitat of living in burrows.

Marmots, adorable furry rodents found in North America, Europe, and Asia’s mountains, belong to the squirrel family and are closely related to ground squirrels and prairie dogs.

As the heaviest members of the squirrel family, they reside in burrows, some reaching lengths of up to 30 feet.

Similar to meerkats, marmots are social animals that live in groups. Remarkably, marmots hibernate for 7-8 months annually, experiencing a significant weight loss, sometimes up to 2/3 of their entire body weight during hibernation.

6. Dwarf Mongoose

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  • Scientific name: Helogale parvula
  • Size: 7.1–11 in
  • Weight: 11 oz
  • Diet: Omnivore

How are they like Meerkats: A small mongoose, akin to meerkats in behavior, lives in large, sociable, and curious groups.

The dwarf mongoose, Africa’s smallest carnivore, frequently seeks tasty insects. With short, pointed muzzles, long tails, and small ears, they measure just 7 to 11 inches, making them the smallest mongoose species.

Living 10 to 14 years in the wild and up to 18 years in captivity, these cute creatures, much like meerkats, thrive in large, sociable, and curious groups.

7. Raccoon

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  • Scientific name: Procyon lotor
  • Size: 16-28 in
  • Weight: 8-20 lb
  • Diet: Omnivore

How are they like Meerkats: A member of the Procyonidae family, raccoons share certain physical traits with meerkats. Similar to meerkats, raccoons exhibit agility in climbing trees.

Raccoons, small mammals belonging to the Procyonidae family, are native to North America but can be found in various global habitats, including swamps, forests, and urban areas.

Their omnivorous diet includes vegetables, fruit, nuts, small mammals, and insects. With an average body length of 16 to 28 inches, they hold the title of the largest members in the Procyonidae family.

In the wild, raccoons live around 2-5 years, but captivity can extend their lifespan to up to 14 years. Interestingly, their name originates from the Powhatan word “aroughcun,” meaning “animal that scratches with its hands.”

8. Chipmunk

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  • Scientific name: Tamias
  • Size: 7-8.5 in
  • Weight: 2.3–5.3 oz
  • Diet: Omnivore

How are they like Meerkats: Small ground-dwelling rodent that delights in crafting burrows?

Chipmunks, charming small rodents inhabiting woods and meadows across North America (with the Siberian chipmunk being endemic in Asia), are known for their cuteness.

Smaller than meerkats, they measure between 3.1 to 6.3 inches in body length, showcasing striped fur typically in brown or gray hues. Exceptional burrow builders, chipmunks construct burrows exceeding 11 feet in length.

Vocal creatures, use noises to warn their group of potential dangers.

Remarkably, a tiny chipmunk can collect up to 165 acorns per day, displaying impressive foraging capabilities.

9. Fossa

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  • Scientific name: Cryptoprocta ferox
  • Size: 28–31 in
  • Weight: 12-19 lb
  • Diet: Carnivore

How are they like Meerkats: A carnivore closely related to meerkats, mongooses, and civets.

At first glance, fossas appear to be a mix of cat, meerkat, monkey, and weasel. Unique to Madagascar’s forests, they can reach up to 6 feet in length and weigh up to 26 pounds.

Sporting a short, dense coat in rich brown with a hint of gold and a paler belly, fossas are the largest carnivores in Madagascar.

In the wild, they typically live around 15 years, extending to 20 years in captivity. Sadly, habitat loss has dwindled their population to approximately 2,500, earning them a classification as a vulnerable species according to the IUCN.

10. African Civet

  • Scientific name: Civettictis civetta
  • Size: 
  • Weight:
  • Diet: omnivorous

How are they like Meerkats: A small, lean mammal related to mongooses, featuring facial characteristics reminiscent of a meerkat.

African civets, often referred to as civet cats, are small, lean creatures more closely related to mongooses than cats.

Featuring small ears and pointed snouts akin to meerkats, they have short, dense greyish fur with distinctive black spots in rows and markings around their eyes.

Weighing up to 44 lb, they measure between 26–33 inches in length, with tails ranging from 13–19 inches. In the wild, African civets typically live 15 to 20 years, with captivity extending their lifespan by several years.

Summing Up!

The meerkat stands as the sole member of the Suricata genus and is closely affiliated with the mongoose, the other member of the Herpestidae family. These two animals exhibit numerous shared characteristics.

Originally, meerkats belonged to the old carnivore family Viverridae, potentially explaining some similarities with other Viverridae-related animals. In their habitat, some animals closely resembling meerkats coexist, while others share burrows, making it challenging to distinguish them in the wild.

FAQs

1. What are meerkats similar to?

Meerkats share similarities with animals like mongoose, civets, and certain rodent species.

2. What is the closest relative to a meerkat?

The closest relative to a meerkat is the mongoose, both belonging to the Herpestidae family.

3. What animals look like mongoose?

Animals resembling mongoose include meerkats, civets, and some small rodent species found in various habitats.

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