Wildlife Wednesday - Pangolins

Happy Wednesday! Time for Wildlife Wednesday. This week is all about the pangolin!
Pangolins are an animal I really love. They are also one of the animals that helped inspire this series of blog posts. So many people I've talked to about pangolins had never heard of these amazing animals before! So let's learn a bit more about this amazing creature!
And of course there has to be a Suqshies version, so meet Gillian the Pangolin So let's learn a bit more about this amazing creature!

There are 8 species of pangolins. They vary in size from 3.5 lbs to 73 lbs.

tree pangolin
The tree pangolin has a prehensile tail. All of the pictures today are pictures of a tree pangolin.

Asian pangolins have thick bristles between their scales, African pangolins do not have these bristles.

Pangolins are covered in scales except for their snout, eyes, ears, inner legs and underbelly. Their undersides are covered in sparse fur.

Their scales are made of keratin, the same substance that makes up your fingernails and hair.

up close pangolin
Their scales make up 20% of their body weight.
Pangolins curl into a ball to defend themselves from threats, protecting the parts of their bodies not covered in scales.
tree pangolin
Pangolins are secretive, solitary and nocturnal. They are hard to study so there is a lot we still have to learn about these unique animals.

Pangolins can not see well. They rely mostly on their sense of smell.
tree pangolin
Pangolins are insectivores. They use their long tongues to eat termites and ants. They can seal off their nose and ears to protect themselves from getting bugs in these areas.

It is estimated than an adult pangolin can eat over 70 million insects in a year. 
tree pangolin
Pangolins have long sticky tongues. Their tongues attaches to their bodies all the way back in their pelvis, near their last pair of ribs. Fully extended it is longer than their head and body combined.

Pangolins do not have teeth. They swallow insects whole. They grind them up with their stomach muscles and the small stones and bits of sand they swallow while eating insects.

pangolin
Pangolins use scent glands to mark their territory. They also use feces and urine for this purpose.

Baby pangolins ride on the base of their mother's tail.

pangolin
Pangolins have 5 toes with 3 long curved class. They use the claws to dig into termite and ant nets and for digging burrows.

Pangolins balance on the outside edges of their front feet, tucking their claws underneath when they walk. They sometimes rise on their hind limbs.
pangolin

In some regions and cultures pangolins are hunted because it is believed their scales have healing properties. This is not true. Their scales have as much healing property as your own fingernails (none at all!) as they are made of the same substance.