The Pangolin… Quite an extraordinary creature…
Pangolins are found in Africa and Asia although fossil evidence suggests they evolved in Europe. Unfortunately they are another of the World’s threatened species and are on the red list put together by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and labelled vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered. These extraordinary mammals are hunted for their meat and for use in traditional medicine and as fashion accessories.
The name ‘Pangolin’ comes from the Malay word ‘penggulung’ meaning ‘one that rolls up’. When threatened a pangolin will roll up to protect itself.
Pangolins look quite unlike any other creature on our planet for they are the only mammal that is covered by scales and strangely their closest relatives are carnivores.
The scales are made of keratin, just like finger nails and their scales make up 20% of their body weight.
This mammal can consume up to 70,000 ants per day which works out as 73 million ants a year!
Pangolins have long, sticky tongues, which are often longer than their body and attached near its pelvis and last pair of ribs. If a pangolin fully extends its tongue, it is longer than the animal’s head and body!
Pangolins don’t have teeth, instead, they have keratinous spines in their stomach and swallow stones that help them grind up their food in much the same manner as a bird’s gizzard.
Facts thanks to Discover Wildlife.