The Animal Talent

The Animal Talent

The Animal Talent

Animal notes + -

The meerkat is a small mongoose found in South America. Meerkat fossils dating back to 2.59 to 0.01 million years ago have been excavated; so these beauties have been around a long time!


They are characterised by a broad head, large eyes, a pointed snout, long legs, a thin tapering tail, and a brindled coat pattern. 


Meerkats have foreclaws adapted for digging and have the ability to thermoregulate to survive in their harsh, dry habitat.  The coat is light grey to yellowish-brown with alternate, poorly defined light and dark bands on the back. 


They are highly social and form packs of 2-30 individuals. There is a social hierarchy; generally dominant individuals in a pack breed and produce offspring and the nonbreeding, subordinate members provide altruistic care to the pups. 


Meerkats are active during the day, mostly in the early morning and late afternoon; they remain continually alert and retreat to burrows when sensing danger.   The head-and-body length is around 24–35cm with weight typically between 0.62-0.97kg.


These cute animals have been subject to numerous cultural depictions, and have featured in television programmes, films, books, and other media. Their popularity over the last 40+ years has been massive.


The British television series Meerkat Manor, primarily focused on a group of wild meerkats called “The Whiskers”. The show, which aired on Animal Planet, premiered in 2005 and ran for three years. The series, which used narration and traditional nature documentary style footage, has been described as a “reality soap”; the meerkats are given names and described as having human traits for example individual meerkats are characterised as being “courageous” or “caring”. 


The 1987 BBC Wildlife on One documentary Meerkats United, presented by David Attenborough, played a large role in introducing the meerkat species to public consciousness in Britain. It was once voted the best wildlife documentary of all time by BBC viewers. A follow-up, Meerkats Divided, aired in 1996. 


The television advertising campaign Compare the Meerkat is popular in the United Kingdom and Australia. The campaign promotes the price comparison website The campaign was launched in 2009 in the UK and centres around the anthropomorphic character Aleksandr Orlov, an aristocratic Russian meerkat. Other meerkat characters have featured in the advertisements, such as Aleksandr’s sidekick Sergei. 


These beautiful beings have featured in film as well; notably, the popular Timon, a character from Disney’s The Lion King franchise, is an anthropomorphic meerkat.


So whilst meerkats have already been used in brand campaigns, it’s clear that they’re still an exceptionally popular and iconic animal.  They have quirky personalities and are still fascinating to audiences of all ages.  Series producers and script writers will do well to consider the meerkat as a well loved character of the animal kingdom.


This super-cute animal is diurnal and therefore work during the day, which makes shooting schedules much easier.  They’re a social being and do well in human company, making work with models, and actors, quite within their capabilities.

Crew notes + -

We supply professional animal location handlers around the world to ensure you get all the shots you require and, as overseers to ensure the wild is not disturbed, the crew will always be safe and no welfare regulations are ever breached.


It isn’t just the animals that are well trained, our team including our handlers are also highly experienced and fully qualified experts in the field. 


Your handler will take full control of any animals on set and ensure the entire shoot runs properly. They will also fully manage the welfare of all the animals both on and off set; the safety and welfare of the animals is their prime concern.  All of our handling is strictly force-free and only positive, reward based practices are deployed. This way you can have total confidence that by booking With The Animal Talent everything is taken care of legally, professionally and ethically.


The Performing Animals Licence is no longer relevant (it was scrapped in 2019) and has been replaced with the Animal Activity Licence, which we hold.

Special measures + -

Our meerkats are covered by a £10 million Public Liability Insurance policy.


If any species of animal listed under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act are required, special measures will need to be put into place for the shoot. Precisely what is appropriate will vary species to species, but may include sectioned off areas where only trained handlers are allowed. In the event of large and dangerous carnivores, a specifically built green screen studio can also be supplied.

Meerkat 1 (Tigger)Meerkat 2 (Tigger)Meerkat 3 (Tigger & Scout)Meerkat 4 (Tigger)Meerkat 5 (Scout)Meerkat 6 (Tigger)Meerkat 7 (Scout)Meerkat 8 (Scout & Tigger)Meerkat 9 (Tigger)Meerkat 10 (Scout & Tigger)Meerkat 11 (Tigger)Meerkat 12 (Tigger)Meerkat 13 (Scout)Meerkat 14 (Scout)Meerkat 15 (Scout & Tigger)Meerkat 16 Scout & Tigger)Meerkat 17 ScoutMeerkat 18 (Tigger)Meerkat 19 (Tigger)Meerkat 20 (Tigger & Rob)Meerkat 21 (Scout)