6 True Facts About Pangolins

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Scaly Anteater
photo by David Brossard

1. You can’t find pangolins at any zoo

Pangolins are one of the most difficult animals to captivate and that’s likely why you’ve never seen one. Although they’re also known as scaly anteaters and look similar, the two species are unrelated. Pangolins are actually more related to cats and dogs, and I while they’re cute it’d be impossible to keep one as a pet. You’d needs bags filled with ants and termites. Yikes!

2. Pangolins are the only mammal in the world with scales

Pangolins have up to around 1,000 scales on their body that protect them from predators. Their scales are made from keratin, which is the same material as human fingernails and hair. A pangolin will roll up into a ball if it’s threatened which makes it very hard for predators to penetrate the thick and sharp scales.

3. Pangolins are the most trafficked mammal in the world

Even with a national ban of trade between all species of pangolins in 2017, they still account for around 20% of all illegal wildlife trading today. Pangolin scales are turned into traditional Chinese medicine that’s based on no scientific evidence, and pangolin meat is a very expensive delicacy in some parts of Asia for the wealthy.

4. There are 8 species of pangolins

There’s four species of Pangolins in Asia, and four species in Africa. My favorite is the Giant Pangolin which is obviously the biggest of the bunch. Other species include the ground, Chinese, Black-bellied, White-bellied, Sunda, Philippine, and Indian Pangolin. Savepangolins.org is a great site that explains in detail each one.

5. They look like a T-Rex when walking

The way they walk is just incredibly adorable. They use their tail and front limbs to help keep their balance while walking.

6. Most pangolins produce only one baby a year

All African pangolins produce one offspring while Asiatic may produce around one to three. With poachers killing thousands of pangolins a year it’s important everyone steps in to protect this species. Pangolins are beneficial to ecosystems by controlling ant and termite populations- basically they’re pest control. Pangolins have been helping the earth for centuries. It’s time we help them.

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