In this article, you will get acquainted with an amazing animal — the pangolin. You will learn more about what this creature is, where it lives and why it is endangered.
What kind of animal is a pangolin?
Wandering through the jungle, you can hear the funny dialogue of animals discussing a stranger among them:
a lion: What is this creature? It eats ants. Is it an anteater?
Ant-eater: Not! It’s not one of us. He has armor. Is that an armadillo?
Battleship: Not! I’ve never seen this before. It looks like an artichoke.
A monkey: walking vegetable? This is some nonsense! I’m just going to ask him. Hey buddy! What are you?
a lion: Did you see it? It just rolled into a ball. Maybe it’s a live soccer ball!
It sounds a bit funny, but there is some truth in every joke. Until recently, the creature was not studied in detail, but today we already know that it is a pangolin! The pangolin is sometimes referred to as the “scaly anteater”. Some people also refer to it as a leg bump, or an artichoke with a tail. No matter how you describe it, the pangolin is a strange creature!
Although some people think it is a reptile, the pangolin is actually a mammal. In fact, it is the only mammal covered in scales. Scales are made from keratin, which is the same protein that makes up human hair and nails.
The pangolin’s scales form a protective barrier that helps it protect itself from predators in the wild. When threatened, the animal curls up into a tight ball to protect itself. This action gives the pangolin its name, which comes from the Malay word (penggulung) meaning “to curl up”. They may also use the sharp scales on their tails to deter an attacker.
Pangolins vary in size from as small as a cat to as large as a large armadillo. They are generally solitary nocturnal animals that live in burrows and use their long, sticky tongues to eat ants and termites.
Where do pangolins live?
There are eight species of pangolin, four each in Africa (black-bellied, white-bellied, giant earth and Temmink terrestrial) and in Asia (Indian, Filipino, Sundian and Chinese). Unfortunately, pangolins are becoming an increasingly endangered species. They are considered the most illegal trade item in the world and are especially in demand in Asian countries such as China and Vietnam. You can read about the rarest animals in the world in a separate selection.
Pangolin meat is considered a delicacy, and the scales are used in a wide variety of folk medicines. Although currently protected by international law, all eight species of pangolin are either vulnerable or endangered. You can also watch a short video about pangolins from National Geographic:
If you liked the article, share your impressions in the comments below.