Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Sunda Pangolin
There are eight species of Pangolin, all found within the genus Manis. Though they sort of resemble anteaters, they are actually the only extant members of their family, and also of their entire order, Pholidota. The Pangolin species are found in tropical habitats of Africa and Asia. Their size varies by species, with those on the smaller end measuring 12in (30cm) while the larger species reach up to 40in (102cm).

Pangolins have a variety of interesting physical features. The most obvious are the scales, which are actually made from keratin, the same substance in out hair and nails. These large plates weigh up to 20% of their total body weight, and serve to defend the Pangolins from attackers, as they are able to roll up in to a ball underneath them. Young Pangolins are born with soft scales, which harden quickly. When threatened, mothers will roll up their young with them.

Pangolins have long claws that are suitable for digging, but aren't the best for walking; they walk with their paws curled over. They also interestingly have no teeth, nor do they have the ability to chew. They probe into termite mounds and anthills with their long, sticky tongues and simply swallow the meals whole.

All Pangolin species have been evaluated by the IUCN, and they range from Least Concern to Endangered. Illegal trade has damaged their numbers, and all populations are in decline

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