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Pangolin


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The pangolin (also called the scaly anteater) is an unusual mammal that is covered with tough, protective scales made of keratin (the same substance that hair, fingernails, and horn are made from). There are 7 species of pangolins that live in grasslands and forests in parts of Africa and Southeast Asia (Genus Manis). The pangolin lives up to 14 years in captivity.

Anatomy: The pangolin has scales that cover everything except the belly, snout, eyes, ears, and undersides of the limbs. The pangolin has short legs with huge claws; it uses its claws to dig into ant hills and termite mounds. The sticky tongue is up to 27 inches (70 cm) long. The pangolin ranges from 24-62 inches (60-160 cm) long. The pangolin has no teeth. The long tail is prehensile (grasping); the pangolin can even hang from its tail.

Diet: This insectivore (insect-eater) uses its long, sticky tongue to catch ants, termites, and other insects. It hunts mostly at night; it is a nocturnal animal.

Predators: When in danger, the pangolin curls into a ball, protecting its soft belly and face. It may also hit an enemy with its tail or spray it with urine. Its enemies include lions, tigers, and humans.

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