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name for a large number of small, carnivorous, terrestrial Old World mammals of the civet family. They are found in S Asia and in Africa, with one species extending into S Spain.
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(Suricata suricata), a predatory mammal of the family Viverridae. The head and body length is about 35 cm; the lightly furred tail measures about 25 cm in length. The hairs are sparse and shaggy. The back and sides are marked with rows of spots or with indistinct whitish and brown transverse bands.
The suricate is found in the desert regions of southern Africa. It is active during the day. The mammal lives in colonies in burrows that it digs itself. It often lives amid colonies of ground squirrels. The suricate resembles a suslik in the way it stands still and whistles when alarmed. The diet consists of insects and small vertebrates. A litter of two to four young is born each year.