Pangolin: Habits, Diet and Other Facts
The pangolin is a mammal that lives in Asia and Africa. It has a body covered in very characteristic scales and is often called the "scaly anteater". This name is also due to the fact that these animals feed mainly on termites and ants, which it catches with a long, sticky tongue.
Pangolin is the name used to refer to eight different species. In general, these species range from 1.6 kg to 33 kg, and their coloration varies from yellowish brown to dark brown. All eight species are protected by law where they are found.
As mentioned, these animals have a body covered by scales, which are made of keratin. These scales, which are superimposed on the animal's body, grow throughout its life, and it is important to emphasize that as soon as the animal is born the scales are flexible and lighter in color. The lower part of the pangolin does not have scales.
These animals have a conical head, a very long and sticky tongue, which helps them capture their prey, and no teeth. Their vision is not very developed - this animal is often guided by its excellent sense of smell.
Life habits of the pangolin
Pangolins are solitary, nocturnal animals. They have the habit of curling up as a defense, in order to protect their more fragile parts. They can also use their sharp tails to attack. To capture their prey, they destroy nests using their claws, which they also use to make their burrows.
These animals have separate sexes, that is, there are males and females. Their sexual maturity is reached at around two years of age. Gestation varies according to the species, and gestation periods vary from 70 to 139 days. The offspring are breastfed for the first four months, but may ingest ants and termites in the first month of life.
Why are some species of pangolin threatened with extinction?
The pangolin, like many animals on the planet, faces several problems that endanger its survival. One of these problems is habitat destruction, a serious issue that puts more and more species in danger every day and is mainly caused by humans. Besides this, its meat and scales are used in the manufacture of medicines, which increases the hunting of this animal. It is important to point out that the pangolin is the most trafficked animal in the world.