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A New Mob of Meerkats

Five new meerkats are now living in the Kids’ Zone area at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium!


The two females, Keeya and Naledi, and three males, Kayode, Chaka, and Mkhaya, arrived in Tacoma in June.

“We are delighted to welcome these meerkats to Tacoma,” said Curator Natalie Davis. “They are such curious, interactive animals, and observing what they get up to each day is very enjoyable.”


A group of meerkats is called a “mob” or a “gang.” The new arrivals, all from other zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, will join one mob, and the zoo’s resident meerkat siblings, Frick and Crackle, will remain in a separate gang.

“Meerkats are social animals that spend much of their time grooming and playing together,” said Davis.


Meerkats are a weasel-like animal that is a member of the mongoose family. In the wild, meerkats live in the African savannah. They have dark patches around their eyes that help cut down on the sun’s glare and a membrane that can cover the eye to protect it while digging or burrowing. Their ears also close to keep out the sand while at work, and they have nonretractable claws to help them dig.

“They are fascinating animals. From their unique adaptations to survive arid African environments to their complex social dynamics and unique vocalizations, there are so many interesting things for zoo guests to learn about meerkats,” said Davis.


Look for the meerkats in the Kids’ Zone area of the zoo. They have a special environment that imitates their natural environment with rocks and caves- watch them pop up and scout outside, then dig and tunnel inside with their mob.