Meerkat Family

Written By: Madison Underwood, Animal Care Professional

Meerkat families, also known as mobs, have a fascinating family dynamic. Meerkats are one of the few mammal species that take on specific roles to ensure the well-being of their family. Meerkat society is comprised of a hierarchy with females being at the top. Alpha females are the only member of the mob that may become pregnant. Thus, she is the heart and soul of the family. Below the alpha female is her mate, the alpha male, and the rest of the family act as betas. Furthermore, several meerkat families may live together in a large community, which then is called a manor.

Each meerkat plays a specific role in ensuring the survival of their family. While some members act as hunters and gathers to bring back food, others act as lookouts. These lookouts, or sentries, will watch the skies for birds of prey, such as hawks and eagles, that could steal them from the ground. While these few lookouts guard the group, others busy themselves foraging for food. Meerkat’s diet consists of insects, lizards, small rodents and various fruits. The last of the meerkat family act as burrowers. Meerkats utilize an extensive tunnel system to make up their home, with many of the tunnels being many feet underground to escape the heat.

Here at ZooTampa, we are home to four male meerkats: Peabody, Ranger, Sam and Ralphy! Our family dynamic is quite unique in that we do not have an alpha female. However, our meerkats do not seem to be affected as they still display all of the characteristics of a normal meerkat family. They can be seen foraging for their favorite waxworms, digging new tunnels to expand their home or lounging in the sun. Guests will often times comment on the lookout, as our meerkats love to stand on logs to get a better look at the sky!

You can find our meerkat family in the Africa realm of the Zoo. It’s easy for your family to come back again and again with a Family Plus Membership – 2 adults, all dependent children + 1 free guest!


Please review our booking tips before continuing

Outside Food & Drinks Policy

ZooTampa at Lowry Park offers a variety of delicious food for guests at several restaurants and concession stands throughout, but we understand that guests may need to bring outside food for special dietary needs. Acceptable and prohibited food items are listed below. For the convenience of our guests, there is a picnic area located outside the park near the main parking lot.

 Acceptable Items
  • Bottled water (max 20oz bottle, sealed) one per guest
  • Small snacks for young children
  • Baby food/baby formula
  • Soft-sided insulated bags no larger than 8.5” wide x 6” high x 6” deep (limit one per child)
  • Pre-purchased empty ZooTampa souvenir cups
  • Any food required for medical purposes and medically-indicated nutritional supplements
 Prohibited Items
  • Prepared or packaged food or meals
  • Alcohol
  • Glass or any open containers or water bottles filled with beverages
  • Hard-sided coolers of any size
  • Soft-sided coolers larger than 8.5” wide x 6” high x 6” deep
  • Suitcases and soft-sided bags with wheels larger than 24” long x 15” wide x 18” high

Prohibited Items

For the safety of our animals, guests and employees, the following items are not permitted to be brought into ZooTampa:

  • Any type of explosive or weapon
  • Knives or other sharp objects
  • Pepper spray
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Marijuana
  • Illegal drugs
  • Straws
  • Clothing likely to create a danger or disturbance
  • Any hazardous items or materials

The following items are also prohibited to avoid blocking of walkways and/or trip hazards:

  • Segways
  • Hover boards
  • Two-wheeled scooters
  • Self-balancing electric vehicles
  • Shoes with wheels
  • Drones
  • Hard-sided coolers of any size
  • Soft-sided coolers larger than 8.5” wide x 6” high x 6” deep
  • Suitcases and soft-sided bags with wheels larger than 24” long x 15” wide x 18” high

Please leave any unnecessary articles secured within your vehicle to expedite your entry into the park.

We reserve the right to deny entry to anyone not observing Zoo Rules.

Pay For A Day Tickets

With a new Pay For A Day, Rest of Year Free ticket – for a limited time – you get unlimited admission through December 31, 2023 including access to our seasonal event series. Some blockout dates apply — see below for details. Not valid with any other discounts.

When does my Pay For A Day ticket expire?

For a limited time, new Pay for a Day, Rest of Year Free tickets are valid from the day of purchase until 12/31/2023 Pay for a Day, Rest of Year Free tickets which were purchased prior to October 1st, 2022 are valid until 12/31/2022.

What are the blockout dates?

3/11/23 – 3/19/23
11/24/23 – 11/26/23
12/26/23 – 12/31/23

Can I purchase a Pay For A Day ticket on a blockout date?

Yes! You can purchase a Pay for a Day, Rest of Year Free ticket for first-time use on a listed blockout date and have full access to the park on that day. Blockout dates apply to repeat visitation.

Can I use my Pay For A Day ticket on blockout dates?

If you already have your Pay for a Day, Rest of Year Free ticket and wish to visit during a listed blockout date, please stop by the Zoo’s ticketing windows for alternate options:

  1. During blockout periods, Pay For A Day ticket holders have access to significantly discounted single-day tickets.
  2. For a limited time from the date of purchase, Pay For A Day tickets can be upgraded to a Zoo Membership (with no blockout dates).
I purchased a Pay For A Day ticket online. How do I get my actual ticket?

Bring a copy of your confirmation (or show the confirmation email on your mobile device) to expedite entry into the Zoo. At your convenience during your visit you can stop by the Tours & Guest Services kiosk located just inside the Zoo to print your physical pass. No need to stand in line at the ticket windows. Walk right in!
Still have questions? Email us or call (813) 935-8552 ext. 0.