Pangolin is an unusual-looking animal that is classified as an anteater with scales. Pangolins are classified into eight distinct species. Four of them dwell in Asia, while the remaining four reside in Africa. They like savannah forests, floodplain meadows, rocky slopes, and dry and sandy environments. Numerous pangolin species are threatened with extinction as a result of widespread hunting. In China and Africa, they are killed and various parts of their corpses are used to make traditional remedies. Additionally, their unique skin is used in the fashion business.
Interesting Pangolin Facts:
1. Pangolins achieve a maximum length of 3.2 feet and a weight of about 40 pounds. Male and female Indian pangolins (one of the species) are clearly distinguishable due to males being up to 90% bulkier than females.
2. The pangolin’s body is coated with tough, brown keratin scales (human nails and hair are made of keratin, too). Scales cover every part of their bodies save their forehead, stomach, and inner side of their legs.
3. Each foot of a pangolin has five toes. On the front foot, the first and last digits are decreased. The third, fourth, and fifth digits are highly developed. They have razor-sharp claws that make an excellent digging instrument. Their forelimbs are shorter than their hindlimbs.
4. Pangolins have prehensile tails that help them balance and support themselves when hanging from tree limbs.
5. Pangolins are insectivore and eat only insects. They have a very long, rod-shaped, and sticky tongue that may exceed 16 inches in length. Pangolins acquire their food by inserting their tongues into termite tunnels. While they are doing so, they keep their noses and ears covered to avoid being stung by furious ants.
6. Pangolins have been known to consume up to 70 million insects every year. They eat around 90 times every night, with each meal lasting one minute. Pangolins like to consume just 19 types of termites and ants.
7. Because pangolins lack teeth, they consume sand and tiny stones in addition to insects to aid in meal crushing and digestion.
8. Apart from people, pangolins are mostly preyed upon by lions, tigers, and leopards. Pangolin defends itself against them in a variety of ways. It constricts into a ball, revealing its razor-sharp scales. This also aids the pangolin in concealing its sensitive bodily parts. Pangolins may also spray the predator with the anal scent gland material. Skunk employs a similar method.
9. Additionally, pangolins employ smell glands to denote their area. They do the same thing with pee and excrement.
10. Pangolins are nocturnal (active at night) creatures that live in solitude. They spend their nights in subterranean burrows.
11. Pangolins have weak vision but an exceptional sense of smell. They lack an external ear yet have excellent hearing.
12. March is the mating season for pangolins. Pregnancy lasts 135 days and results in the birth of a single baby.
13. The infant spends its first days of life in the den. Mother is compelled to abandon it whenever she goes in quest of food. If the mother detects danger, she will relocate her infant to a different cave.
14. When the infant is old enough, it rides on the base of the mother’s tail and travels with her.
15. In captivity, the pangolin lives between 12 and 20 years. The duration depends on the species.