Difference Between Mongoose and Meerkat

Mongoose vs Meerkat

Both mongooses and meerkats are small mammals belong to the Family: Herpestidae of Order: Carnivora. It is common that people mistakenly refer to these two mammalians as one, but they exhibit some notable differences between them. Mainly, their distribution and physical features are important in differentiating these two animals.


They are carnivorous mammals with more than 30 extant species in 14 genera. They can inhabit in a range of habitats and naturally distributed in Europe, Asia, and Africa. There are introduced populations in Hawaii, Cuba, and Caribbean islands. Mongoose has an elongated face and body with short and round ears. Additionally, they have short legs and long bushy-like tail that is tapering at the end. They have non-retractile claws, which are extremely useful in digging burrows. Mongooses have characteristic scent glands, which are large and used in marking their territories. One of the most interesting and important capability of mongooses is that they are immune to snake venom. They have acetylcholine receptors that make it impossible for the snake neurotoxin to kill the mongoose. Usually, mongooses eat small insects, small mammals, and worms. People often use them to kill snakes, as mongooses have the natural talent to disarm snakes via agile and cunning methods with the use of acetylcholine receptors.


Meerkats mostly prefer drier desert climates of South Africa. Meerkat is a single species known as Suricata suricata, which has a geographically restricted distribution in couple of countries around South Africa. Their tail is long and ends up with black or reddish colour at the pointed tip. They have a tapered face with a pointed nose, which is brown in colour. There are characteristic black colour patches around their eyes, and they can close their ears to prevent from dirt being filled inside while they are digging the floor. They have eyes located at the front of the head, which is aiding them to have a binocular vision. Their fur is usually fawn in colour and it has mixed with gray and tan, or sometimes brown with silver tint. Mainly, meerkats are insectivorous, but sometimes eat small mammals as well.

What is the difference between Mongoose and Meerkat?

• Meerkat usually inhabit dry deserts, whereas mongooses can range in different climates and habitats.

• Mongoose has a bushy tail but meerkat does not.

• The coat colours of mongooses vary across different species, while it is a fawn with gray and tan, or sometimes brown with silver tint in meerkats.

• Meerkat has an elongated face compared to mongoose.

• Meerkat has binocular vision, but mongoose does not.

• Meerkat can close their ears while digging, but mongoose cannot.

• Mongoose is carnivores, but meerkat is usually insectivorous mammal.

• Mongoose can attack snakes, but there are no such reports from the meerkat.

• Mongoose is immune to neurotoxins of the snake venom, while meerkats are immune to strong venoms of the scorpions.