Initially, Ma lived with her colony in a territory outside the Pride Lands. She tried to persuade Timon to be a sentry, but when he continually failed to fit in, he left the colony. Later, Ma journeyed to Pride Rock and helped Timon defeat the hyenas who were fighting for Scar. After the battle, she and her colony moved to the jungle.
Ma lived in a territory outside the Pride Lands with her colony. At some point in her life, she took on a mate and had a son, Timon.
Timon leaves the colony
In her colony's tunnels, Ma searched for her son, Timon. She asked Uncle Max where he was and accidentally scared him. He told her that he had not seen Timon all day and that there had been no sign of his "handiwork" either. Seconds later, the tunnel collapsed, and the colony discovered that Timon had been behind the incident. As her son was scorned by the other meerkats for destroying another tunnel, Ma quietly expressed her disappointment. She then jumped in and made light of her son's "skylight" before pulling him outside to have a word with him.
When they were alone, Timon tried to defend himself, but Ma told him that this could not go on. She reminded him of all his previous accidents, then reminded him that their survival depended on working together. Timon was still unconvinced and reminded her that all they did was dig and hide. He asked her what was wrong with wanting a better home. Ma parted the grass so they could see the world beyond. She told Timon to look out over the land, then informed him that "everything the light touches...belongs to someone else."
Timon expressed that he had thought she was heading in a different direction, to which Ma replied, "What can I say? It's nature's design." Uncle Max then appeared out of the grass and told Timon that they were "feared by no one and eaten by all." Ma sarcastically thanked Uncle Max and told him that he had been a big help. Despite her sarcastic tone, he kept persisting his point until Ma pointedly ordered him to go. Timon commented on how crazy Uncle Max was, but Ma begrudgingly pointed out that he was right. She then exclaimed that there had to be some way for Timon to fit in.
A moment later, Uncle Max asked for a sentry guard. Ma lit up and quickly nominated Timon for the position. Uncle Max protested, and Timon displayed similar reservations. Ma reminded Timon that all he had to do was watch out for hyenas and yell if he saw one. She then gestured to Iron Joe, the former sentry guard. She reminded Timon that the position was out in the open and under the sky, which was just what he had wanted. She then commented that if he did not guard, he could go back to tunnel duty. In answer, all the meerkats shouted, "No!" Ma then agreed that it was settled and told Timon to learn the basics from Uncle Max. As an afterthought, she begged him to make this work.
After Timon failed his job as a sentry, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed infiltrated the colony. In the midst of the panic, Ma grabbed Timon and pulled him into a hole. She then began to take a roll call and found that Uncle Max was still trapped outside the tunnels. When he managed to escape, the whole colony blamed Timon for the attack. He tried to defend himself, but all the meerkats turned and left, save Ma. After the colony dispersed, Ma emerged out of the tunnels to see Timon sitting by himself.
Timon told her that he was never going to fit in and that no one even liked him. Ma protested, and Timon said, "Besides you, Ma." She then tried to think of other meerkats who liked him but could not think of any. Timon interrupted, telling her that he had to find his place. Ma told Timon that his place was with his colony and that he just had not found it yet. She started to comb his hair, but Timon snapped at her to stop it. He then proclaimed that his place was somewhere far from the colony. Ma tried one last time to protest but finally gave in to Timon's wishes. She then pulled him into a tight hug, so hard that Timon could hardly breathe.
When they finally parted, Timon turned and set out on his own path. As he left, Ma tried to give him little reminders about not talking to strangers, washing behind his ears, and always swimming with a buddy. She then tried to tell him to send them a message, but he was too far away, and her sentence was inaudible. Finally, Timon waved her off and said goodbye for the last time.
Later, after Timon met Pumbaa and found his "dream home," Ma talked to Rafiki, who told her about "Hakuna Matata." At first, she was confused, but Rafiki explained to her that it meant "no worries." He then informed her that he had told Timon "to look beyond what he sees." Ma mistook Rafiki's words of wisdom for a metaphor, and when he tried to correct her, she got angry at him and demanded to know why he had used a metaphor on Timon. She then called down to Uncle Max, telling him that she had to go save Timon. Uncle Max was not keen on the idea, but Ma was determined to go. As she was about to set off, Rafiki said to her, "Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." Ma then said, "Thanks. Here's my first step," and jumped squarely onto Rafiki's foot.
Battle of Pride Rock
While Simba was confronting Scar, Ma showed up at Pride Rock with Uncle Max. After Pumbaa scared away the hyenas, Ma emerged out of a tunnel under his feet. Timon and Uncle Max were shocked to see each other, but Ma was delighted. Timon asked what she was doing there, and Ma replied that she had been looking for him. She then embraced him. After the embrace, Timon introduced his mother and uncle to his friend, Pumbaa. The group then looked up to see Simba being backed to the edge of Pride Rock by Scar. After Simba slipped, Timon and Pumbaa began to get worried. Ma offered to help, and Timon quickly instructed her and Uncle Max to dig a trap. While they were constructing the tunnels, Timon and Pumbaa would lure the hyenas away from Simba. As Timon rode away on Pumbaa, Ma commented that something was different about Timon, to which Uncle Max said, "You think? He's wearin' a dress!"
After Timon and Pumbaa drew the hyenas into the cave, Timon yelled down to his mother that they had gotten their attention. However, the tunnel was incomplete, so Timon and Pumbaa tried to stall the hyenas while Ma and Uncle Max finished the tunnel. When the tunnel was finally finished, the whole plan faltered, as one of the sticks that was needed to collapse the ground was stuck by a rock.
Timon bravely jumped in to finish the job, and Ma screamed in fear as he dove between Shenzi's legs. But the hyenas quickly lost interest in Timon and started closing in on Pumbaa and the meerkats, who hugged each other in terror. Timon dove for the last tunnel support, and it crumbled upon impact. The hyenas leaped for their victims, and Pumbaa, Ma, and Uncle Max gasped and steeled themselves as lightning flashed. But as Shenzi landed in front of them, the ground gave way, followed by the whole ledge. The entire floor collapsed into a huge crater and swallowed all the hyenas whole. The hyenas then slid through a huge subterranean tunnel complex, screaming, until they disappeared into the darkness.
Ma became frantic about what had happened to Timon and shook Uncle Max uncontrollably, convinced that her son was dead. She then grabbed Pumbaa by his nostrils and proclaimed that they had to find him. Timon emerged out of the tunnel and told Ma to relax. At first, she did not recognize him, but when she did, she embraced him and called him a hero. She reached up as though to comb his hair but caught herself. She then looked at her hands in embarrassment, but Timon informed her that she had missed a spot. Delighted, Ma continued combing his hair.
Move to the jungle
After Scar and the hyenas were defeated, Ma was present at Simba's coronation. She looked at Simba in wonder as he ascended Pride Rock and exchanged a look with Pumbaa and Uncle Max. As the lionesses roared in reply, she turned to Timon and commented that he had come a long way. She then asked him if he had found what he was looking for. He admitted that he had found a place beyond his wildest dreams but that it still was not home. He then invited her and the meerkat colony to live in the jungle he called his "dream home." Ma was awestruck by the beauty of the oasis and told Timon that the jungle had everything.
When Kion asked Timon what he knew about the Zimwi, Timon explained that Ma's cousin's friend knew an ox who had told him that he had run into the Zimwi and been eaten by it. Kion asked how the ox could have told the tale if he had been eaten, and Timon told Kion that he would need to ask the ox.
Ma is a short and overweight meerkat. She has cream-colored fur, with a pale underbelly and brown ears, feet, and hands. She has several dark stripes on her back as well as an orange head tuft. Her eyes are green.
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 is important and will sacrifice her time and efforts to make others happy. She is also the only meerkat who is willing to stick up for Timon when he messes up. Initially, when Timon struggled to fit in with his colony, she yearned for him to find his place and be happy. When he told her that his place was not with his colony, she reluctantly let him leave in the hopes that he would find a better home. Even so, she has a very strong attachment to Timon and can hardly stand being parted from him. In times of need, Ma is brave and ferocious, as seen when she joined Timon and Pumbaa in their fight against Scar's hyenas. She tries to keep Timon's hair as neat as possible and likes to give bear hugs.
- Ma was animated by Lianne Hughes.
- In the "You Bet Your Tuhkus" episode of The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa, Ma makes a brief cameo. Her design is significantly different than it is in The Lion King 1½. She also appears in "Mombasa-In-Law". However, at the end of the episode, she is revealed to be Timon's practical-joking friend Fred in disguise.
- During early production of The Lion King 1½, Ma had a mate. According to director Bradley Raymond, he was removed from the film because there were too many characters, and so his lines were transferred to Ma and Uncle Max.
- In a deleted scene, Timon and his father discuss why meerkats have to keep digging tunnels. Ma enters, bringing food, and tells Timon that no matter what he does, he will make her proud.