African Pangolins are so unique — they are the only scaled mammal in the world. Pangolins are not reptiles — they are warm-blooded mammals — they just have scales instead of fur. Their scales are made from a protein called keratin. They are the same as rhino horn, fur, hair, and nails are examples of the exact same protein — keratin. A rhino uses its horn to fight, but also used for defense. A Pangolin is a harmless animal and only uses it for defense — the hard scales are like armour and protect their soft body.
Although Pangolins look like they are related to anteaters and armadillos– they are not and in fact, more closely related to bears, dogs and cats.
- What a cute animal!
There are 4 species of Pangolin in Africa:
- Black-bellied Pangolin.
- White-bellied Pangolin, or the tree Pangolin.
- Giant ground Pangolin.
- Temminck’s ground pangolin, or just the ground Pangolin.
When threatened, Pangolins curl into a ball so that their scales protect them, and they can emit a foul smell (fluid) from their anal glands.
This is one of those confusing life situations. The Pangolin’s greatest enemy is mankind, and mankind is also the Pangolins greatest hope. Good and bad people draw a bold line in the Pangolin’s life.
Pangolins have 1 baby (pangopup) a year. When young, they ride on their mother’s tail or back for protection. A pangopup is weaned at about 3 months, but can still be with their mother up to 2 years.
Pangolins are the only mammals with scales and these make up to about 20% of their weight. Due to this (scales) they are called ‘the scaly anteater’, but they are not related to anteaters, sloths and armadillos, none of which are endemic to Africa.
Baby pangolin, is called a ‘pangopup’. We are mentioning this again, because we cannot believe how low certain people can sink — pangopups are also poached to be boiled to make ‘pangolin wine, or just ‘wine’, to cure supposed diseases or problems. If people can kill such an innocent and 100% adorable creature quite obviously have a problem that nothing will cure. Nothing.