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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Pangolin

There are eight species of pangolin (also known as scaly anteater), four in Asia and four in Africa.

Tree pangolin. By Valerius Tygart - Wikipedia Commons

BEHAVIOR

Pangolins live in hollow trees or burrows, depending on the species.

They tend to be solitary animals, meeting only to mate and produce a litter of one to three offspring which are raised for about two years.

Pangolins defend themselves by rolling up into a ball totally covered with scales. Their name comes from a Malay expression meaning 'rolling up'.

Indian pangolin defending itself against Asiatic lions. By Sandip kumar -  Wikipedia

Pangolins are nocturnal, and their diet consists of mainly ants and termites which they capture using their long, specially adapted tongues.

A pangolin can eat 70 million ants a year. They have no teeth but grind them up in their stomachs.

ANATOMY

Their sticky tongues, which can be as long as their body, are perfectly designed for slithering into ants' nests and slurping them up.

The pangolin's tongue is attached to the bottom of its ribcage and is rolled up in a hollow part of the animal's chest when not in use.

Pangolins can close their ears and nostrils to keep ants and termites out while they are feeding.

Just as armadillos are the only mammals with shells, pangolins are the only mammals covered in scales.

Pangolin, Manis javanica. By Piekfrosch at the German language Wikipedia, 

A pangolin's scales account for about 20 per cent of its body weight.

Pangolins have become highly endangered through the use of their scales in Chinese medicine and their being eaten as a delicacy in Vietnam.

Male pangolins are about 50 per cent heavier than females.

THREATS

Pangolins are threatened by hunting (for their meat and scales) and heavy deforestation of their natural habitats.

They are the most illegally traded wild mammal on the planet, and is in danger of being eaten to extinction.

Daily Express

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