Meerkats are charming animals, famous for their scanning of the horizon for danger, posing for the National Geographic cameramen, and one Disney cartoon character called Timon.
They have some distinctive looks: slender bodies, pointy little faces, tiny ears, and black eye patches. But are there animals that remind us of them?
You might be surprised to learn that many animals look like meerkats. Mongooses, especially the banded and yellow ones, different ferrets, weasels, minks, raccoons, and prairie dogs all share some characteristics in looks with meerkats.
Let’s dive in and describe all of these meerkat-looking animals so you know how to better differentiate them next time.
At A Glance – How A Meerkat Looks
Animals That Look Like Meerkats
Size: 14 in
Weight: 2.8 lb
The banded mongoose is a greyish member of a large mongoose family that lives in savannas, open forests, and grasslands of Africa. Banded mongoose and a meerkat both look alike due to their pointy noses and small ears. In fact, if you ask us, they are just fluffier, angrier, grayish versions of meerkats.
You can differentiate the two by size: meerkat is smaller, has a shorter tail, and has more prominent eyes compared to the head size.
Banded mongooses are nomadic creatures that like to move a lot: every 3-4 days they will change their place.
They are excellent snake killers and just like Joey from the show Friends, banded mongooses do not share food – they are very possessive of it.
Banded mongooses are very social creatures that live in groups up to 40, with one dominant male leading the pack.
Size: 11 in
Weight: 1.3 lb
The yellow mongoose is a small meerkat-looking mammal that can be found in open country, semi-desert scrubland, and grasslands of South Africa.
And just like a meerkat, it has a pointy nose, small ears, and long curved claws for digging. People will sometimes refer to yellow mongooses as red meerkats, due to many shared similarities between the two.
The main difference between a yellow mongoose and a meerkat is the tail and color: mongooses have bushier tails and lighter coat colors.
Yellow mongooses are excellent diggers – they will make a series of underground tunnels with over 40 entrances, chambers, and tunnels. They are carnivores that eat amphibians, reptiles, beetles, ants, mice, and even birds.
There are around 30 species of mongoose currently alive; they are all closely related to meerkats so it’s no wonder they all look like. Meerkats and mongooses are members of the same Herpestidae family.
Some mongoose species that are closely related to meerkats are the banded, Gambian, Liberian, common dwarf mongooses, and several species of kusimanse.
Size: 15 in
Weight: 1.5-4.4 lb
Habitat: North America, Africa, and Europe
Ferrets are small furry creatures with long bodies, short legs, small ears, and small heads that live in grassy plains in the wild. Due to their similar body shape and eye patches, it would be easy to mistake a ferret for a meerkat in the field.
Ferrets got domesticated some 2,500 years ago. Just like meerkats, they are carnivores. In the wild, ferrets will feed on raw meat, raw bones, and other tissue.
They got their name from the Latin word “furittus” which means “little thief.” Depending on the coat type, size, color, or pattern, there are over 20 types of ferrets.
A group of ferrets is known as a “business”.
Size: 4-10 in
Weight: 1 oz
Weasels, just like meerkats, have a slim, elongated body, and a small head. Tiny, rounded ears, large eyes, and a pointy snout are what make them look similar. They can be found in the open fields, woodlands, thickets, roadsides, and farmlands.
Weasels might look cute, but they are ferocious predators. Often, they will attack prey larger than themselves, and kill much more than they can eat. They do not throw leftovers; they feast on them in the following days.
When trapped, weasels will hit their enemy with a stink bomb – a thick, oily, yellowish fluid that reeks.
Read more: Do bears reek?
Size: 13-18 in
Weight: 1.1-3.5 lb
Habitat: North America, Europe, and Asia
Mink is a small semiaquatic mammal that resembles a meerkat and lives in North America and Eurasia. Minks are animals often found near lakes and rivers when there’s a tree cover nearby. They have elongated and thin bodies, short legs, pointed snouts, and sharp claws.
Minks are excellent diggers, swimmers, and climbers – they can swim up to 100 feet underwater and jump from tree to tree. When they are happy, minks will purr.
Despite looking cute, they are excellent predators that kill their prey with a bite to the neck. Minks feed on muskrats, rabbits, mice, chipmunks, fish, snakes, frogs, and birds.
Some people confuse them for rodents, but minks do not belong to the rodent family of animals.
Size: 17-28 in
Weight: 6-15 lb
Habitat: Asia, Europe, and North America
Marmots are large, heavily-built animals that live in mountain regions of Europe, North America, northwest Asia, Pakistan, and India.
And if you ask us, marmots are just meerkats that have been eating too much food. Both look alike, both have prominent eyes on their heads, round ears, and sharp claws. Marmots are, of course, a lot bigger than meerkats.
Marmots are a large group of rodents that consists of 15 species (including groundhogs). All of these animals like to live in their burrows – during winter they hibernate there.
Both the meerkats and marmots can be often seen on their back legs looking for predators (hence the confusion in their looks), and when they spot one, they will release a warning sound – meerkats let out a distinctive bark while marmots whistle loudly.
Size: 16-28 in
Weight: 8-20 lb
Habitat: North America
Raccoons are grey-coated mammals native to North America that bear some resemblance to meerkats – both have long snouts and patches around their eyes. Raccoons can be found in moist woodland areas, farmlands, suburban, and urban areas.
They are well-known for their bandit-like facial mask and similarly bandit-like behavior – they’re curious scavengers and opportunists that love stealing food and different items.
Raccoons got their name from the Powhatan word “aroughcun”, meaning “animal that scratches with its hands.”
Despite sharing some physical traits, meerkats and raccoons are not related. Meerkats are members of the mongoose family while raccoons are members of the Procyonidae family, together with ringtails, cacomistles, coatis, kinkajous, olingos, and olinguitos.
Size: 12-15 in
Weight: 2-4 lb
Habitat: North America
Prairie dogs are small and furry animals that resemble meerkats a bit. They have a short tail, small rounded ears, and short legs. Prairie dogs live in dry grasslands, at altitudes ranging from 2,000 to 10,000 ft above sea level.
Prairie dogs mate only once a year – females get into heat for a single hour. Males, no pressure.
Prairie dogs got their name from the prairie they live in and because of their warning calls that sound like barks.
Just like the meerkats, prairie dogs will be on the lookout for predators. When “scouts” spot something while the others are browsing, prairie dogs will release a loud alarm bark so the others run to the safety of the burrow.
Similar to what llamas do – they scream to warn other animals if they see a predator.
Read More: List of animals similar to a prairie dog
Size: 18-22 in
Weight: 13-25 lb
Habitat: North America
The badger is a small mammal covered in fur that has short legs and a low profile. What makes it resemble meerkats the most, is the small and pointed head. Badger can be found in plains and prairies, farmlands, and the edges of woods.
They are excellent diggers that make underground burrows for protection and sleeping. Male and female American badgers are promiscuous and will have multiple partners.
There are 11 species of badgers in total.
Read More: 13 animals that have pointy ears
Size: 7-8.5 in
Weight: 2.3–5.3 oz
Habitat: North America
Chipmunks are small members of the squirrel family and the last on our list of animals that resemble meerkats. Chipmunks have large, glossy eyes and pointy whisker-covered noses.
They can be found in forests, forest edges, and areas of thick brush. Chipmunks are omnivores and feed on insects, nuts, berries, seeds, fruit, and grain which they stuff into their cheek pouches and bring to their burrow.
There you have it, 10 animals that look like meerkats.
Some look more like meerkats, while for the others, you will need a bit more imagination to spot the resemblances. Mongoose, weasels, ferrets, mink, prairie dogs, and badgers are just a few that are easy to mistake for a meerkat.
Read more: Birds that have split tails