In South Africa you require a special permit to own a meerkat as a pet. They are some of the most amazing creatures ever, and they make awesome pets. I would compare it to a ferret. They are amazing, but require a lot of attention.
If you're thinking of buying a meerkat to be an affectionate, intelligent and adorable pets, read this and think again!
Meerkats are cuddly creatures, however they bite.
They bite for all sorts of reasons and sometimes just for fun. They have long and very sharp canines that easily puncture the skin. Bites tend to go in deep and they easily become infected. They heal slowly and can be very painful.
Meerkats are soft and cute, but they smell!!
We once knew a meerkat called 'Stinky'. He wasn't especially smelly - just as smelly as they all are. As they grow up meerkats begin to scent mark their territory - your home and the objects in it - as well as scent marking those they love - i.e. you. They use their anal glands for this. It is dirty and smelly. Yuck.
Meerkats are diligent hunters
Meerkats are inquisitive animals that love to dig and burrow... they will cheerfully tear your house to pieces.
For every captive bred meerkat that survives many will have died. Meerkats don't breed well in captivity. Females often abort or eat their own babies.
Caring for Meerkats
No human can give a single meerkat the constant care and attention it craves - many literally go insane, most probably from anxiety over lack of social contact. Others self-harm. One meerkat we knew of was so upset that it literally chewed its own paws off.
Where to buy a Meerkat
Most meerkats are purchased from an illegal source. Sadly many meerkats in captivity have been taken illegally from the wild and by purchasing a pet meerkat you may be encouraging a trade that's detrimental to wild meerkat populations.
Please help stop the exploitation of these wild animals and say NO to having a pet meerkat. It's cruel. And if you just love meerkats so much you can't bear to be without one in your life, there are alternatives:
Real meerkats fans love their meerkats wild!