Pangolin Facts

Pangolin Facts
Pangolin is odd-looking animal that belongs to the group of anteaters with scales. There are eight different species of pangolins. Four of them live in Asia, four in Africa. They prefer savannah woodlands, floodplain grasslands, dry and sandy areas and rocky slopes. Several pangolin species are endangered due to extensive hunt. People kill them and use different parts of their bodies for the preparation of folk medicines in China and Africa. Also, their specific skin is used in the fashion industry.
Interesting Pangolin Facts:
Pangolins can reach 3.2 feet in length and weight of nearly 40 pounds. Males and females of the Indian pangolin (one of the species) can be easily distinguished, because males can be 90% heavier than females.
Pangolin body is covered with hard, brown scales made of keratin (human nails and hair are made of the same substance). Scales cover every piece of their body except forehead, belly and the inner side of their legs.
Pangolins have five toes on each foot. First and last digits on the front feet are reduced. Middle three digits are well developed. They have very sharp claws, which serve as a perfect tool for digging. Their front legs are shorter than hind legs.
Pangolins have prehensile tail which provides balance and hold animal while hanging from the branches of the trees.
Pangolins are insectivores (animals which eat only insects). They have very long, rod-shaped and sticky tongue which can be 16 inches longer than entire animal. Pangolins insert their tongue in the termite tunnels to collect their meal. While doing that, they keep their nostrils and ears closed to protect themselves from the angry ants.
Pangolins can eat up to 70 million insects per year. They eat usually 90 times during the night, where each meal lasts one minute. There are just 19 species of termites and ants that pangolin likes to eat.
Pangolins do not have teeth so they swallow sand and small stones along with insects to facilitate grinding of food and digestion.
Besides humans, main predators of pangolins are lions, tigers and leopards. Pangolin has couple of methods when defending against them. It curls into a ball exposing its sharp scales. This also helps pangolin to keep its sensitive body parts hidden. Pangolin can also spray the predator with the substance produced in the anal scent gland. Skunk uses the same mechanism.
Pangolins also use scent gland to mark their territory. They disperse urine and feces for the same purpose.
Pangolins are nocturnal (active at night) animals, which live solitary life. They sleep in the underground burrows.
Pangolins have poor eyesight, but they have excellent sense of smell. They do not have external ear, but they hear well.
Mating season takes place in March. Pregnancy lasts 135 days and ends with one baby.
Baby spends first days of its life in the den. Mother has to leave it every time she goes to search the food. If mother senses a danger, she will move her baby to another den.
When baby is old enough, it travels with their mothers by riding on the base of her tail.
Pangolin lives between 12 and 20 years in captivity (depends on the species).

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