Ma searches for her son, Timon. She asks Uncle Max where he is and accidentally scares him out of his "Digga Tunnah" chant. He tells her that he hasn't seen Timon all day, and that there had been no sign of his "handiwork" either. Seconds later, the tunnel collapses and the colony discovers that Timon is behind the incident. As her son is scorned by the other meerkats for destroying another tunnel, she quietly expresses her disappointment. She then jumps in and tries to defend her son's "skylight," before pulling him outside to have a word with him.
When they are alone, Timon tries to defend himself, but Ma tells him that this can't go on. She reminds him of all his previous accidents, and then goes on to say that their survival depends on working together. But Timon is still unconvinced, and reminds her that all they do is dig and hide. He asks her what's wrong with wanting a better home. Ma then parts the grass so they can see the world beyond. She tells Timon to look out over the land. But the beautiful moment is broken when Ma reminds Timon that "everything the light touches... belongs to someone else!"
Timon expresses that he had thought she was heading in a different direction, to which Ma replies, "What can I say? It's nature's design." Uncle Max then appears out of the grass and tells Timon that they were "feared by no one and eaten by all." Ma sarcastically thanks Max and tells him that he's a big help. Despite her sarcastic tone, he keeps persisting his point, until Ma pointedly tells him to go and he leaves. Timon comments on how crazy Uncle Max was, but Ma begrudgingly points out that he was right. She then exclaims that there has to be some way for Timon to fit in.
A moment later, Uncle Max can be heard off screen, asking for a sentry guard. Ma lights up and quickly nominates Timon for the position. Uncle Max protests against this and Timon backs him up. But Ma reminds Timon that all he has to do is watch out for hyenas and yell if he sees one. She then gestures to Iron Joe, the former sentry guard. She reminds Timon that the position is out in the open, under the sky; just what he wanted. She then comments that if he didn't guard, he could go back on tunnel duty, to which all the meerkats shout, "No!" Ma then agrees that it's settled, and tells Timon to learn the basics from Uncle Max. As an afterthought, she begs him to make this work.
After Timon fails his job as sentry, the hyena trio infiltrates the meerkat colony. In the midst of the panic, Ma grabs Timon and pulls him into a hole. She then takes role and finds that Uncle Max is still trapped outside the tunnels. When he manages to escape, the whole colony turns the blame on Timon. He tries to defend himself, but all the meerkats turn and leave, except for Ma. She then emerges out of the tunnels to see Timon sitting by himself.
Timon tells her that he was never going to fit in here and that no one even liked him. Ma protests this, and Timon says, "Besides you, Ma." She then tries to think of other meerkats who like him, but can find none. Timon interrupts, telling her that he has to find his place.
Ma tells him that his place is with his colony, he just hasn't found it yet. She then starts to comb his hair, but Timon tells her to stop it. He then proclaims that his place is somewhere far from the colony. Ma tries one last time to protest, but finally gives in to Timon's wishes. She then pulls him into a tight hug, so hard that Timon can hardly breathe. When they finally part, Timon turns and sets out to on his own path. As he leaves, Ma tries to give him little reminders about not talking to strangers, washing behind his ears, and always swimming with a buddy. She tries to tell him to send them a message, but he is too far away and her sentence is inaudible. Finally, Timon waves her off and says good-bye for the last time.
Much later, after Timon has met Pumbaa and found his "dream home," Ma talks to Rafiki, who tells her about "Hakuna Matata." At first she is confused, but Rafiki explains to her that it means "no worries." He then tells her that he had told Timon "to look beyond what he sees." Ma mistakes Rafiki's words of wisdom to be a metaphor, and when he tries to correct her, she gets angry at him and demands to know why he'd used a metaphor on Timon. She then calls down to Uncle Max, telling him that she has to go save Timon. Uncle Max isn't crazy about this idea, but Ma is determined to go. As she is about to set off, Rafiki says to her, "Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." Ma then says, "Thanks. Here's my first step." And jumps squarely onto Rafiki's foot.
Years later, while Simba is confronting Scar, Ma shows up at Pride Rock with Uncle Max. After Pumbaa scares away the hyenas, Ma emerges out of a tunnel under his feet. Timon and Uncle Max are shocked to see each other, but Ma is delighted. Timon asks what she's doing here and Ma replies that she's looking for him. She then embraces him in one of her full-on hugs. After the embrace is over, Timon introduces his mother and uncle to Pumbaa. The group then looks up to see Simba being backed to the edge of Pride Rock by Scar. But after Simba slips, Timon and Pumbaa begin to get worried. Ma offers to help and Timon quickly instructs her and Uncle Max to dig a trap. While they're constructing the tunnels, Timon and Pumbaa would lure the hyenas away from Simba. As Timon rides away on Pumbaa, Ma comments that something was different about Timon, to which Uncle Max says, "You think? He's wearin' a dress!"
After Timon and Pumbaa draw the hyenas into the cave, Timon yells down to his mother that they've gotten their attention. But the tunnel is incomplete, and Timon and Pumbaa try to stall the hyenas while Ma and Uncle Max finish the tunnel. But when the tunnel is finally finished, the whole plan falters as one stick needed to knock down the others in order for the ground to collapse is stuck by a rock.
Timon bravely jumps in to finish the job and Ma screams in fear as he dives between Shenzi's legs. But the hyenas quickly lose interest in Timon and start closing in on Pumbaa and the meerkats, who hug each other in terror. Timon dives for the last tunnel supporter and it crumbles on impact. The hyenas leap for their victims, and Pumbaa, Ma, and Uncle Max gasp and steel themselves as lightning flashes. But as Shenzi lands in front of them, the ground gives way, followed by the whole ledge. The entire floor collapses into a huge crater and swallows all the hyenas whole. The hyenas then slide through a huge subterranean tunnel complex, screaming, until they disappear into the darkness.
Ma becomes frantic about what happened to Timon, and shakes Uncle Max uncontrollably, convinced that her son is dead. She then grabs Pumbaa by his nostrils and proclaims that they have to find him. Timon emerges out of the tunnel and tells Ma not to relax. At first, she doesn't recognize him, but when she does, she embraces him in a hug and calls him a hero. She reaches up as though to comb his hair, but catches herself. She then looks at her hands in embarrassment, but Timon informs her that she "missed" a spot" and, delighted, Ma continues combing his hair.
After Scar and the hyenas are defeated, she is present at Simba's accession to the throne of the Pride Lands. She is seen looking at Simba in wonder and exchanging a look with Pumbaa and Uncle Max. As the lionesses roar in reply, she turns to Timon and comments that he's come a long way. She then asks him if he had found what he was looking for. He admits that he had found a place beyond his wildest dreams, but it still wasn't home. He then invites her and the meerkat colony to live in the jungle he calls his "dream home." Ma is awestruck by the beauty of the oasis, and tells Timon that the jungle has everything. She then joins in the reprise of "Digga Tunnah."
Finally, when the movie is over, she joins Timon and Pumbaa in the respective theater. She asks what they're doing and then, upon seeing the screen, demands to know why they'd watched the movie without her. Timon tells her the movie is over, but she tells him that he'll have to rewind it. She then takes the remote from Pumbaa and begins rewinding the film. She then calls to Uncle Max that they're going to watch the movie. He enters a moment later with a bag of popcorn. Soon, the entire theater fills up with various Disney characters, and Timon gives in to his mother's wishes.
Timon receives a telegram from Ma, saying that she will pay a visit. Because she disapproves of her son's Hakuna Matata lifestyle and wants him to become a responsible contributing member of the meerkat society, Timon builds a house, purchases a briefcase to make it seem like he's got a new job, and has Pumbaa pretend to be his wife named Patty.
When Ma arrives, Timon shows her the house, his briefcase, and introduces his "wife Patty" to her. He then attempts to make his mother leaves, but she wants to stay a little longer. When Timon attempts to convince Ma that "Patty" is a good "wife", Ma doesn't think he can live with "her", so she decides to move in. Timon then convinces Ma that if she does, she would get lonely without her friends. Ma then states that she will not leave the house unless she meets a rich old movie star.
Timon then has Pumbaa pose as a rich old movie star named Patrick, whom Ma is attracted to. She then tells Timon that before she leaves, she wants to meet "Patty's entire family", which Timon has Pumbaa disguise as.
When Ma asks to meet every single member of "Patty's family", Pumbaa becomes fed up and tells her who he really is. Ma then scolds Timon for lying to her and forces him to tell the truth. When he does, Ma tells her son that it's okay and then reveals that she is actually Fred in disguise. Fred reveals that it is April Fools' Day and, as a revenge, Timon and Pumbaa put him in a rocket and send him to the moon.
Ma is mentioned by Timon when he says that she always told him to never make friends with food when Bigfoot wants him and Pumbaa to keep him company.
Ma is mentioned by Timon when he finds baked orange concentrate, stating that it's just like she used to make.
Timon mentions that Ma used to nest in a pair of jeans that were created by fashion designer Donny Gofigure.
Timon brags that he was always Ma's favorite.
After he and Pumbaa babysit triplets, Timon calls Ma (and his father) to thank them for raising him and tell them that he loves them, while Pumbaa does the same to his parents.
Ma is mentioned by Timon when he tells the Lion Guard that her cousin's friend knew an ox that was eaten by the Zimwi.
Personality and traits
|“||Ma: Max, Timon's out there chasing metaphors! I gotta go find him!|
Uncle Max: Are you nuts?!
Ma: Nice to have a supportive family, isn't it?
Ma is a devoted and supportive mother. She is very down-to-earth about what's important and will sacrifice her time and efforts to make others happy. She is also the only meerkat who's willing to stick up for Timon when he messes up. Throughout the film, she yearns for him to fit in and be happy. When he tells her that his place is not with his colony, she reluctantly lets him leave, in hopes that he'll find a better home. But she has a very strong attachment to Timon, as she can hardly stand being parted from him. Other traits of Ma's include bravery, devotion, a willingness to help, and forgiveness. She is also known to be sassy and strong-willed at times. Throughout the film, she tries to keep Timon's hair as neat as possible.
- Ma is voiced by Julie Kavner.
- A different portrayal of Ma appears in the Timon and Pumbaa episode "You Bet Your Tuhkus". She also appears in "Mombasa-In-Law"; however, at the end, she is revealed to be Timon's practical joking friend Fred in disguise.
- Ma makes a cameo in We Are The Lion Guard, a board book in the Adventures of The Lion Guard book set.
- In an early concept of the film, Ma had an unnamed partner.
- In a deleted scene, Timon and his father are discussing why meerkats have to keep digging tunnels. Ma enters, bringing food, and tells Timon that whatever he does, he is going to make her proud.
|“||Timon: I'm never gonna fit in here. Nobody even likes me.|
Ma: Sure they do, honey. Sure they do!
Timon: Besides you, Ma.
Ma: Uh, besides me? Um, there's, uh....
|“||Timon: Welcome to our new home....a predator-free environment.|
Ma: I gotta hand it to you. Timon. This place has everything!
Timon: Well, now that we're all here, it does.
|Season 1 of The Lion Guard|
|"Never Judge a Hyena by its Spots":|
|"The Rise of Makuu":|
|"Bunga the Wise":|
|"Can't Wait to be Queen":|
|"Eye of the Beholder":|
|"The Kupatana Celebration":|
|"Fuli's New Family":|
|"The Search for Utamu":|
|"Follow that Hippo!":|
|"The Call of the Drongo":|
|"Paintings and Predictions":|
|"The Mbali Fields Migration":|
|"Bunga and the King":|
|"The Imaginary Okapi":|
|"Too Many Termites":|
|"The Trouble with Galagos":|
|"Janja's New Crew":|
|"Beware the Zimwi":|
|"Lions of the Outlands":|
|"Never Roar Again":|
|"The Lost Gorillas":|
|"The Trail to Udugu":|
|"Beshte and the Hippo Lanes":|
|"Ono the Tickbird":|
|Characters from The Lion King 1½|