Meerkat Symbolism & Meaning
Are you feeling stuck in an emotional rut? Looking to make a few new, sincere friends? Meerkat as a Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal can help! Meerkat teaches how to break free from your emotional chains and connect with genuine people. Delve deeply in Meerkat symbolism and meaning to find out how this animal spirit guide can support, educate, and guide you.
Meerkat Table of Contents
- Meerkat Symbolism & Meaning
- Spirit Animal
- Totem Animal
- Power Animal
- African Symbolism
- Meerkat Dreams
- Back to all Mammals
- Back to all Spirit Animal Meanings
Meerkat Symbolism & Meaning
“Matilda: There once was a meerkat who lived in the jungle. He was hungry, but he was small: So small. And the other big animals had all the food because they could reach the fruits. So, he made friends with a hippopotamus to…
Max: [interrupting her] Okay, stop. It doesn’t end well for the meerkat.
Matilda: Yes, it does, because he can stand on the hippopotamus’s back to get all the fruits he wants.
Max: What’s in it for the hippo?
Matilda: [precociously] The hippo wants a friend.”
Despite the word “kat” in their name, Meerkats are far more like a hyena or bear, but with cat-like heads. They are members of the mongoose family found in the South African Kalahari Desert. Meerkats have slender bodies measuring about 11 inches, tiny ears and black areas around their eyes that appears as if someone went a little crazy with eyeshadow. These aren’t hefty creatures, weighing just over two pounds at adulthood.
Some of the symbolism and meaning for Meerkat begins with their group mentality. They really like being pack animals, usually with one being a leader (often a female). They move in packs of up to about 25 individuals, but individuals still have home regions each of which is marked by glandular secretions. Packs don’t always interact well with other packs, however. So, the energy is group-oriented, but with distinct limits.
For home sweet home, Meerkats burrow up to five feet into the ground. There they clear out a space about 16 feet wide. This burrow has more than one entrance and may connect to other similar structures by tunnels; this is where Meerkats spend the nights and where they birth pups.
Sometimes they use this structure for protection from the noon-day sun too, which reaches over 100 degrees F while the den is a cool 70ish; this is a great reflection of adaptive living that takes cues from the environment. Having this naturally cooled area is especially important since Meerkat must forage for between five and eight hours daily looking for insects, lizards, small snakes, and rodents. The group stays in touch with each other by making quiet sounds.
The Meerkats use their highly defined sight, smell, and hearing during hunting expeditions. Smell helps them find prey in crevices or under the earth, for example. They use their claws for breaking up dirt pretty neatly. When animal prey is in short supply, they turn to tubers instead.
There is some pretty intense competition within the Meerkat group. There is usually one head honcho who is the male breeder. He does his best to deter any other male in the pack from doing so. Here we see a semblance of the Sacred Masculine regarding power and authority.
A unique feature of Meerkat community living has to do with pup rearing. They seem to comprehend the concept of “it takes a village” quite naturally. The adults in the troop take part in caring for the pups. While the pups wean off their mother by around eight weeks, they require assistance for quite a while afterward that, not leaving the den until about ten weeks. During that in-between time, one member stays in the den without food protecting the pups.
Once they begin going out with the pack hunting, they watch and beg for bits of food as its dug up. A helper feeds bits to the cubs until they’re ready to fend for themselves around six months of age. Those that aren’t quite ready yet continue receiving attention from helpers. Its worthy of note, however, that the dominant female doesn’t necessarily give warm-fuzzies to helper females while she is carrying. Close to birth, subordinate females get the boot from the mom-to-be, knowing that they may be killed by a subordinate with grand aspirations.
In larger packs, more birth mothers and family units work cooperatively. These units rarely leave the group due to safety. In turn, those in larger packs exhibit longer lives. In both instances, Meerkat signifies ways in which a group can provide support to children, families and the whole.
The black coloring around a Meerkat’s eyes provides protection from solar glare. His eyes can zoom in on an object. Because they stand when standing watch or looking around, their belly hair gathers what heat they may need. There is no question that Meerkat may see what other animals or humans do not. Perception and awareness itself in Meerkat Spirit’s energy. Taking this one step further, the Meerkat classic stance speaks to us of those things for which we stand up – be it an ideal or those we love.
Keywords and characteristics for Meerkat Spirit include teaching, support, sensual awareness, protection, nurturing, kin, group mind, fertility, family, detail-oriented, community, communication, coherence, child-rearing, alertness, affiliation, and adaptation.
Meerkats seem very curious about humans. Watching them peer from a “hidden” location often leads to a giggle or two. It’s like children playing hide-n-seek. In Africa, Meerkat represents diligence.
Meerkat Spirit Animal
When Meerkat Spirit Animal comes into your life be ready for anything OTHER than the same-old-same-old. Meerkat likes to shake things up a bit, get you out and moving and generally have a lot more fun. Don’t let yourself get so settled into a thoughtform that you never get anywhere. Meerkat says, come out of your den!
Those struggling with authority be it Masculine or Feminine may find Meerkat coming to help you sort things out. Following the right process, knowing who lays down the rules and who oversees specific tasks is important in our lives. We may not always “enjoy” authority figures, but they are certainly prevalent so let Meerkat guide you in the best ways of coping here.
Along the same lines, Meerkat may be asking you about your vision of the Sacred Masculine or Feminine and how it manifests in your life? Do you need to strengthen those connections? Are you intimately aware of those influences? Time to put these things in perspective and find that Yin-Yang harmony.
Another reason Meerkat may appear in your life as a Spirit Animal is when your social connections become tangled up or downright harmful. We move in and out of all manner of situations daily. Some bring us in contact with unsavory figures. If you feel like you should get away, you probably should. Retreat to a safe haven and give yourself time to think.
One key message from Meerkat Spirit Animal is one of vigilant awareness. You need to stand up and see true. Things look much different when you are on your feet vs. sitting down. Use that perspective for measuring and metering your actions. Also, apply it when protecting those figuratively “younger” or “weaker” than yourself. Standing guard is an honor in the Animal Kingdom and among humans. When asked, take it as such and treat it seriously.
There is no question that Meerkat brings lessons about our family supports (both given and received). Your inner circle is one that should nurture and inspire, and having everyone on the same page helps. If someone gives too much and never receives, they burn out. If one receives too much and never gives, they become vain and pushed away from that Tribal core. Both situations require a sensitive hand for fixing things.
Finally, Meerkat Spirit may warn of danger (this is especially true if the images you receive are of the Meerkat standing on two legs). Something is up, or on the horizon. Keep your senses keenly honed.
Meerkat Totem Animal
Those born with a Meerkat Totem Animal have a bit of the trickster in their soul. They enjoy a good laugh, have smart minds and incredibly fast response times. The Meerkat person can survive a lot of crazy things, but they are not afraid to seek the help of others when push comes to shove. This Totem learns a great deal by experience and then applies those lessons going forward.
If Meerkat is your Birth Totem, you like being around people and probably have a developed social circle that reflects your tastes and ideals. You’re rarely alone: This is far more comfortable for you than going into an unknown gathering. Plus, those people you keep close are also those you invest in energetically.
If you meet a Meerkat, don’t try to pull the wool over their eyes. Being on the lookout and aware comes without a second thought to these people. Avoiding danger is a priority. Nothing slips by a Meerkat except, perhaps, another Meerkat.
Walking with Meerkat throughout your life means you begin to notice that opportunity is your friend. Doors seem to open pretty effortlessly; this can lead to some acquaintances feeling jealous and potentially trying to undermine things. They won’t get away with it, of course. But it’s something well-kept in the back of your mind in measuring people up.
Meerkat Totem Medicine has strong ties to family and home. While some travel is “ok” it’s not a big part of your dance card. Once you have your burrow set up, there is real comfort there especially with those you love. You are also not one to want a ton of company unless they are people close to you. Other random folks like those “plus ones” always seem to make a mess, bringing vibes you have to realign later.
The man with a Meerkat Totem is a “manly man,” and the woman is the balance point of strong feminine energies. There is very little in between for this Totem, and they see no reason to change. Meerkat people of both genders understand their place in the world and in specific situations and how to work in that capacity with ease.
Meerkat Power Animal
You need to loosen up, get out of a rut and give yourself the freedom to be authentic.
Stretching yourself toward unique ways of thinking or living.
Needing “play” time, badly (or minimal guidance on balancing the work-play equation).
There is a sense of impending danger or threat, and you need more information.
Honing your senses, including psychic ones.
Growing your social circle.
Starting a family or community.
Observing a person or situation hoping to gain the truth or improved information.
Struggling with authority figures, including the way you communicate with them.
Protecting young ones or acting as a helper in their education.
Standing up to “invaders” who threaten your den, your pups or your terrain.
African Meerkat Symbolic Meanings
Since Meerkat lives in South Africa, most of the meanings and symbolism we derive for this creature begin here. The term Meerkat likely came from a Dutch term that meant “lake cat,” or possibly a Dutch adaptation of a Sanskrit word for ape. The Africans may have adopted this when haring “meerkat or markata” repeatedly from sailors.
Meerkats are a part of African culture and tradition. Their images adorn all matter of artifacts, religious items, and artwork. The rest of the world knew nothing of these strange little guys for hundreds of years. Africans found their antics endearing and quite smart in the way they handle human encounters.
Some tribes recognize Meerkat as an emblem of kinship and social bonds; this is the Meerkat’s strength and why they also represent invincibility in the face of predators. There truly is safety in numbers.
One South African story tells us that it was Meerkat who gave color to all the animals. One day, Meerkat came to the creatures of earth and told them to bring him the meat of a buck. For each one who did, he would paint color on that animal.
The first opportunist of the group was Hyena who successfully caught a buck but promptly ate it himself. All he returned to Meerkat with was a bag of bones. Meerkat told the Hyena to lie down. He proceeded to paint ugly splotches on Hyena then warned that anyone else who tried to cheat would meet the same ends.
Leopard listened and returned with the buck’s skin untouched. Meerkat gave him beautiful markings telling the others that those who keep their word will get beautiful colors. And so, this process wore on until Meerkat was not only well fed but had given each animal its unique hues.
South Africans are very aware of the environment and the place that Meerkats play. Thus in 1993, the Kalahari Meerkat Project began with a group of Meerkats and data specifications. The creatures were weighed regularly and monitored for their eating habits. Those studying them tried to handle the Meerkats as little as possible using egg bits as a temptation for getting them on the scale. In true Meerkat fashion, they all wanted to do this together!
The project has gathered a great deal of information including how female Meerkats increase their eating to become bigger than siblings; this, in turn, gave them a far better chance to breed due to dominance.
The Kalahari Project serves as an educational platform too. It has hosted hundreds of interns, along with Masters, Ph.D. students and post-doctoral students in field studies that continued their learning with hands-on experience. The Kalahari Project boasts a vast outreach system for schools. They also provide safe space for film crews wishing to document the Meerkat (like National Geographic).
One of the most common interpretations of Meerkat in your dreams is that it acts as a warning; this is especially true if the Meerkat stands. Danger approaches and you should be on the lookout to avoid problems.
If the Meerkat is with a group, it portends social occasions for you in the near future.
Should it seem as if you are looking through the Meerkat’s eyes in your dream, you can feel comforted by knowing you remain acutely aware of your surroundings and the people in your life.
When a Meerkat disappears into a pack in your dream, it indicates that you feel like your individuality has been lost to a job or a group.
Meerkat Symbolic Meanings Key
- Group mind