A meerkat (suricatta) standing on a rock. The meerkat or suricate Suricata suricatta is a small mammal and a member of the mongoose family. It inhabits all parts of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana and South Africa. A group of meerkats is called a mob, gang, or clan. A meerkat clan often contains around 20 meerkats at a time, but some superfamilies have had 50 or more. Meerkats have an average life span of 12-14 years.