The Afrikaans name Meerkat refers to either the Yellow Mongoose or the Suricate, and is a derivate of a Dutch terms denoting a diet of ants. The Suricate is most frequently seen balanced on its rear legs and tail, while surveying its surroundings. The buff-brown to silvery body has rows of reddish-brown spots along the back.
The eyes are distinctively dark-ringed. Head and body measures 250-310 mm and tail 200-240 mm. An adult weighs about 620-960 grams. They have dark-tipped, short-haired, tapered tails. Hindquarters are stockier than forequarters. The head is broad and rounded, with a sharp-pointed muzzle.
Mature females practice a seasonal breeding order which, amongst others, allow for no more than one female to breed at the same time within the same group. Breeding females can produce between one and three litters per year, but breeding intervals are rainfall dependent.
Births peak between January and March. The entire group participates in the care and maintenance of young. While the pack is out foraging for food, one helper remains at the den to tend to the young.