Unusual features/differences from similar
whole upper body and tail as well as the sides of the legs are covered by
overlapping horny plates. The ears are just slits in the side
of the head. The tail is concave on the inside to accommodate
the body when the pangolin rolls up into a ball to protect itself. The anal
gland produces a smelly secretion.
Males are bigger than females
A wide range of habitats, Does not occur
in swamps, forests,
open grassland or desert.
Single young are born of gestation of 140 days.
Babies take solid food at 4 weeks.
Behavior and Habits
active at night. Hides during the day in burrows, holes, or
piles of vegetation. The Pangolin walks on its hind legs and the front feet not touching the
ground. Ants' nests are found by smell, clawed open and ants licked up with the long round, sticky tongue
folds into a pouch in the mouth when not used. Pangolins are toothless. As a defense mechanism the pangolin
rolls up in a ball with its head protected by its tail. The pangolin slides its
tail sideways across its body and the scales have sharp edges which
can inflict deep cuts. The young ride on the base of their mother's tail or on
her back when they are older. The mother rolls up around
her young when alarmed, enclosing its head and most of its body.
When moving in dry grass or under bush, pangolins can be
quite noisy. They are shy, and will "freeze" at the least sign of danger. Their brown colour blends well with the background, making them
well camouflaged unless they move. The are slow
movers and can be followed at a walk but they can move faster running raised on the back legs. They raise
the body into a near vertical position on the back legs, balancing on the broad
tail to sniff the wind to locate danger.
Rounded dung, 4cm long, containing termite exoskeletons and sand
particles. Opened ants' nests.