The Lion King Wiki
The Lion King Wiki
Physical characteristics
Hair color

Red, blonde, gray (when aging)

Eye color



Digging claws

Sociocultural characteristics



Pride Lands




Snakes, hyenas

Meerkat... It's what's for dinner!
Uncle Max

Meerkats are creatures that appear in The Lion King films and franchise. The most significant meerkat in The Lion King universe is Timon.

Physical characteristics

Meerkats are shown to be tall and thin species. They have pale brown fur that have darker stripes on their backs and patches of cream on their chests. When aging, their furs become pale gray with whitish-gray chests. While the younger meerkats have red or blonde hair, the ones of the elderly are short-cropped gray.


The Lion King

A group of meerkats appear in the "Circle of Life" sequence, but have little significance to the story. These meerkats look and act more realistically than any other meerkat who appears in the films.

Later in the story, after Mufasa's death, Simba flees into the desert and passes out under the hot sun. Timon, a comedic meerkat, and his warthog friend, Pumbaa, take him to their jungle oasis and revive him under the shade. They claim to be outcasts, but viewers don't discover the real reason for this until the Timon & Pumbaa episodes "Once Upon a Timon" and "Home is Where the Hog Is", which were contradicted by The Lion King 1½ (especially the former). They teach Simba their philosophy, "Hakuna Matata," and take him in as their own.

Years go by, and the young lion grows up with Timon and Pumbaa in the jungle. But one day, after Simba has grown into a young adult, his childhood friend, Nala, comes to the jungle and convinces him to go back to Pride Rock and take his place as king. At first, Timon is against the idea, but he eventually gives in and helps Simba win back the Pride Lands. He is seen at the end of the movie on top of Pride Rock with Simba, Nala, and Pumbaa.

The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa

Besides Timon, there is another notable meerkat in the series: Fred, who is Timon's former practical jokester friend.

In "Once Upon a Timon," Timon's meerkat colony is introduced, which explains Timon's origin and how he came to be a wandering loner. The colony is complete with streets and shops, and it even has a princess whom Timon has a crush on.

Three meerkats from Timon's colony

When the Duke leaves the colony, Fred tells Timon that he can go on a date with Princess Tatiana. Timon tells his friend that he can't abandon his post because he'll get banished, but Fred tells him that he won't as long as he doesn't get caught. When Timon prepares for his date with Tatiana, a cobra invades the colony and kidnaps the princess, making the meerkats believe she's dead. The guards see that Timon abandoned his post and try to catch him. After Timon escapes the guards, he runs into the Duke, who banishes him for leaving his guard post.

After Timon meets Pumbaa for the first time, he sees Tatiana still alive and he and Pumbaa rescue her from the cobra. The meerkat colony is happy about Timon saving the princess, and Timon is offered to marry Tatiana and have a better life. However, since the Duke refuses to accept Pumbaa's presence at the colony, Timon chooses to stay with his new friend.

The Lion King II: Simba's Pride

Timon is the only meerkat to appear in Simba's Pride. His fur is noticeably darker, perhaps due to aging, but no other changes have occurred in him, either physically or personality-wise.

Timon is at the top of Pride Rock during Kiara's presentation and later serves as her babysitter. He is seen throughout the movie, but is of little significance. He appears in the battle at the film's climax, in which he fights with the Pridelanders. After the battle is over, and the Outsiders have joined Simba, Timon and the rest of the Pridelanders return to Pride Rock. At Kovu and Kiara's assumed mate ship ceremony, he and Pumbaa emotionally burst into tears.

The Lion King 1½

All we do is dig so we can hide, and hide so we can dig.
―Timon about meerkats

Meerkats are a much more prominent species in The Lion King 1½.

Meerkats from Timon's colony

In the beginning of the film, Timon's meerkat colony is introduced. They live in a network of tunnels miles away from Pride Rock, and are in constant fear of being eaten by hyenas. Towards the start of the movie, the colony sings "Digga Tunnah," a song that is a sole representation of the meerkats' lifestyle. But in the midst of their chant, Timon accidentally collapses the tunnel. The meerkats are annoyed and angry, mostly because this isn't the first time. Timon expresses to his mother that he doesn't fit in with the other meerkats, and that all this colony ever did was "dig so they can hide, and hide so they can dig." Ma points out to Timon that the world beyond their colony belonged to someone else. Uncle Max jumps in and openly insults their species.


Shortly after this, Ma volunteers Timon for sentry duty. But after he fails to warn the colony of a hyena attack, he is once again shunned by his fellow meerkats. Dejected and out of place, Timon finally decides to leave the colony in search of a new home. He eventually runs into Pumbaa, a warthog who is an outcast because of his extreme flatulence. The two become fast friends, though Timon is hesitant to accept Pumbaa. They move from place to place in search of the perfect home, until they finally settle in the jungle oasis.

The two eventually find Simba passed out in the desert and take him in as their own. Though they have trouble raising him, Timon and Pumbaa eventually form a strong bond with the young cub. As Simba grows into a teen, he can beat Timon in a grub-eating contest, of which he is very proud. Upon Simba reaching adulthood, the scenes played out in The Lion King are repeated. Nala comes to the jungle and convinces Simba to return to the Pride Lands. Timon, afraid of losing his friend, tries to keep the two from falling in love. When this initially fails, Simba goes back to Pride Rock, and Nala and Pumbaa go after him in an attempt to help him regain his kingdom. At first, Timon denies helping Simba, but then he gives in and goes after his lion friend.

As the group files into Pride Rock, Timon and Pumbaa provide a distraction for the hyenas. After chasing them away, Timon and Pumbaa run into Ma and Uncle Max, who have dug their way to Pride Rock in order to find Timon. The meerkats reunite and Timon introduces his mother and uncle to Pumbaa. The meerkats decide to help Timon in creating a distraction for the hyenas. As Timon and Pumbaa lure the hyenas into Pride Rock's inner cave, Ma and Uncle Max dig a trap tunnel underneath them. When the trap tunnel initially fails, Timon jumps in and finishes it, causing the hyenas to fall through the hole and down to the bottom of Pride Rock.

After the battle is won, Timon and his family watch Simba ascend the throne and roar over his new kingdom. When Simba is crowned king, Timon decides to help his colony find a better home and lifestyle. He takes his colony to the jungle oasis, where it is assumed they make their new home. Though Timon doesn't stay there, his colony is now safe from hyenas and are living a much more carefree lifestyle.

The Lion Guard

Timon is the only meerkat to appear in The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar and is so far the only meerkat to appear in its inspired television series. He and Pumbaa reside at Hakuna Matata Falls and adopted a young honey badger named Bunga, who becomes their nephew.

Other Roles

The Hakuna Matata Magazine Series

All Mud and Motor Mouth

Timon's colony appears in this story. In order to isolate themselves from Timon, the meerkats in Timon's colony put him on sentry duty. This proves to be a bad idea, as motor-mouthed Timon reports everything from the rising sun to a passing butterfly until the other meerkats begin to ignore him. When true danger strikes, an eagle hovering over the colony, Timon tries to warn his friends, but they ignore him and nearly suffer heavy casualties. Feeling unwanted, Timon leaves his old life behind.

Known Meerkats


  • The meerkats in The Lion King universe are anthropomorphic as they walk on two legs, while real-life meerkats can only stand on two legs.
  • The tails of the meerkats in The Lion King stay rigid, while a real meerkat's tail is flexible.
  • The Selfish Meerkat in One Meerkat too Many is the only meerkat in The Lion King universe thus far to have whiskers.
  • In the "Circle of Life" sequence, the meerkats look different than the meerkats seen in other parts of the movie.


I-- I was just trying to shed a little light on our pathetic existence.
Timon about meerkats
We have to look after each other. Our survival depends on it.
Ma about meerkats
Uncle Max: We're food for other animals - a movable feast. Feared by no one and eaten by all!
Timon: But when they die, they become the grass. And we eat the grass... right?
Uncle Max: Not exactly. We can't digest grass. We're grass intolerant.
—Uncle Max and Timon
Scurry, sniff, flinch!
―Uncle Max teaching Timon how to be a sentry