The pangolin, also known as scaly anteater, is a mammal of the order Pholidota (means a horny scale in Greek). Two of its genera Phataginus and Smutsia, living in Africa comprises two species each.

The name Pangolin comes from the Malay word “pengguling”, meaning “something that rolls up”.

Here are some interesting facts about the animal.

  • They are the only known mammal with protective keratin (the same material of which human fingernails are made) scales covering their skin
  • The lion plays with pangolins
  • pangolin4
  • They are very choosy, tending to consume only one or two species of insects, even when many species are available to them
  • A pangolin’s tongue is longer than its body when extended
  • pangolin tongue
  • Their diet consist of mainly ants and termites
  • They are solitary animals, meeting only to mate
  • They are the most trafficked mammal in the world
  • All eight pangolin species are listed as threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species
  • It curls up into a ball when threatened
Coat made from Pangolin scales on display at the Royal Armouries, Leeds. Photo: Gaius Cornelius

Coat made from Pangolin scales on display at the Royal Armouries, Leeds.
Photo: Gaius Cornelius

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