Monday, April 18, 2016

P is for Pangolin

This has got to be one of the more unusual animals I have seen while writing this series! 

Its scales make me think of an armadillo; its tongue is very long like an anteater; it rolls into a ball like a pillbug when in danger and also lets out a foul smelling scent like a skunk. They are the only known mammals with scales. In size they range from 12 - 39 inches and weigh anywhere from 3.5 - 73 pounds.

There are several species of pangolin with some living in tropical areas of Africa and others in Asia. Depending on the species you will find them sleeping either in trees or in burrows underground. They are nocturnal and are also solitary animals.

Like human fingernails, the scales are made of keratin. They are very sharp so afford protection when the pangolin rolls up into a ball. Their diet is mostly ants and termites. They are sometimes called scaly anteaters. Their vision is not very good so they rely on their sense of smell to find food.

The picture below is a coat of armor made from the scales of a pangolin. According to Wikipedia it was a gift to George III in 1820.

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