How Did the Meerkat Get its Name, Where Do Meerkats Come From, and Do They Hang Out with Warthogs?

The meerkat, also known by its scientific name Suricata suricatta, is a small mammal, and a member of the mongoose family.

How Did the Meerkat Get its Name

Native to South Africa, meerkats live about 12 to 14 years.

The word “meerkat” means “lake cat” in Dutch, but the meerkat is not in the cat family and the name is a mis-identification.

The word is likely from the Sanskrit word “markaṭa”, मर्कट, which means “monkey”.

An Indian sailor on board a Dutch East India Company ship possibly mentioned the name, and was misunderstood.

According to African legend, the meerkat is also known as the sun angel, and it protects villages from the moon devil which attacks stray cattle.

By the way, meerkats only hung around with warthogs in the Lion King movie.

But seriously, meerkats hang around with other meerkats in meerkat colonies that resemble prairie dog colonies.

Warthogs hang out with other warthogs, although older boars usually live completely alone.

Life imitates Disney only on TV.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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