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Pholidota - pangolins

sunda pangolinThere are eight species in this order found in a single family. Pangolins are also called scaly anteaters. They are found in Africa and Asia. Most pangolin species are nocturnal. They range in size from one-three feet in length. Males are larger than females.

Pangolins have small, conical heads; small ears; small eyes; a long tail; and a long, thin tongue.

Pangolins don't have teeth! They use their long, strong front claws and long, muscular tongues to excavate insects like termites and ants. They use their highly developed sense of smell to locate insects.

Pangolins are covered with razor sharp scaly plates. When a pangolin is threatened, it curls up in a ball to protect its vulnerable undersides!

The pangolin's scales are made of keratin. Keratin is what is found in animal horns, human fingernails, claws, and reptile and turtle shells. The pangolin is the only mammal with keratin scales. Pangolins are born with soft scales that harden as they get older.

Pangolins also have long, curved front claws. Their front claws are so long that pangolins have to curl their front paws over to walk on the ground. Some pangolin species live in trees; other species live on the ground.


 Manidae (pangolins)